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With Blust, Hodges on Board, Republicans To Control Watauga County Commissioners for Another Term

Updated screenshot from State Board of Elections website

Editor’s Note: On Wednesday morning after the story below was published, Watauga County Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges announced that the Cove Creek precinct was “double counted” on Election Day. This changed the final count of races on Watauga ballots. 

While none of those elected will change, incumbent Commissioner Billy Kennedy will be the second-highest votegetter in the commissioners races and will receive a four-year term rather than incumbent David Blust, who will receive a two-year term. Also, in the Watauga County Board of Education races. 

The above screenshot is the accurate result. 

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 4, 2014. As for the three races for seats on the Watauga Count Board of Commissioners, the consolation prize for local Democrats was that incumbent Commissioner Billy Kennedy won another term on the seat, beating out Republican challenger Karen Greene Lerch.

Yet, that won’t prevent the Republicans from controlling the local board for another term as incumbent Commissioner David Blust beat Democratic challenger Larry Turnbow and Jimmy Hodges defeated Barbara Kinsey, who is finishing up a term on the Watauga County Board of Education.

The final, unofficial results for the three races are as follows:

Kennedy scored 8,811 votes (51.64 percent) compared to Lerch’s 8,253 votes (48.36 percent).

Hodges received 9,164 votes (53.49 percent) compared to Kinsey’s 7,968 votes (46.51 percent).

Blust knotted 8,834 votes (51.72) compared to Turnbow’s 8,246 votes (48.28 percent).

Depending on how the 35 provisional ballots that will be counted during canvass, the highest votegetter between Blust and Kennedy will receive a four-year term. Hodges is a lock for a four-year term.

“All night long it looked bad at first, then looked better and then close,” Blust said, alluding to the fact that Democrats beat Republicans to polls during early voting.


“I want to congratulate Larry. He was a formidable opponent. He did a very good job, and he’s a good guy. I had no problems with him whatsoever,” Blust said. “I am excited. If I was to lose, I would have said this to Larry, ‘I hope you have as much fun as I do,’ because I love being a commissioner. It’s fun. I like serving. I like having a good time and I like helping people. My goodness gracious, it’s fun to help the people of this county.”

Looking ahead, Blust said he wants to continue offering the ‘great services’ that the county provides with its some 275 employees. In addition to keeping the tax rate low and funding education, and in particular, the infrastructure of aging school buildings in the future, Blust said he wants to continue looking at water issues.

“Water is a big issue, and I want to make sure that it is not controlled by a particular town or entity,” Blust said.

For more election coverage, click to https://www.hcpress.com/politics/2014-elections.