It was a great night for feeling Blue in Buncombe. A surge in voter turnout, fueled by intense interest in the presidential contest, paid off for local Democrats the evening of Nov. 4. When the votes were counted, the party started celebrating its near-total sweep of local and state offices.
And when it became clear that Barack Obama had bested John McCain not only among Buncombe voters but also in North Carolina and the nation at large, progressive politicos were ecstatic. At the Asheville Brewing Co. on Coxe Avenue, a crowd of hundreds cheered and teared up as news coverage of the returns was projected on a wall. As Obama began his acceptance speech, the onlookers chanted, “Yes we can! Yes we can!” and then “U.S.A.! U.S.A!.”
How the Democratic groundswell will shape local politics remains to be scene, of course, but clearly, the political landscape has changed. In the following pages, Xpress’ election roundup explores who won local races, how they did it, and what the future may hold for local government.