While national media outlets like CNN declared a “bloodbath” as Republicans gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Buncombe county stayed blue — a result that likely helped Rep. Heath Shuler keep his seat. Local Democrats won too, with the exception of incumbent Jane Whilden, who lost to Tim Moffitt.
Statewide, a different story unfolded: Republicans won a majority in the North Carolina General Assembly for the first time in about 100 years. And overall, voter turnout was modest — 2,279,901, a little less than half the registered voters in the state.
But back to shades of blue: For the 11th Congressional District seat, Shuler had been challenged by Republican and Henderson County resident Jeff Miller, who lost last night by a near 10-point margin. According to the North Carolina State Board of Election, Shuler garnered 129,762 votes to Miller’s 109,245.
Most local Democrats also won their state races:
For House district 114, Rep. Susan Fisher defeated challenger John Carroll (14,435 votes to 10,274).
Rep. Patsy Keever — appointed to serve out the last few months of Bruce Goforth’s term after defeating him in the May primary — won House seat 115 (Keever, 15,658; Mark Crawford, 12,203).
Rep. Jane Whilden lost to Republican Tim Moffitt by several thousand votes. Two years ago, he narrowly lost.
In the state senate, Democrat Martin Nesbitt defeated RL Clark by a substantial margin: 32,990 votes for Sen. Nesbitt to 22,604 for Clark.
But Nesbitt will lose his position as Speaker Pro Tem: With the Republicans winning the majority in the General Assembly, fellow Western North Carolinian Tom Apodaca will take that spot. Apodaca defeated Democratic challenger Chris Dixon for the Senate district seat 48.
In other races of note: Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan defeated challenger Dickie Green. Buncombe District Attorney Ron Moore won re-election, despite a strong showing by newcomer Bridgette Odom. Democrat Steve Cogburn returns as Clerk of Court.
In a close race for two seats for Buncombe County Soil and Water District Conservation Supervisor, incumbent Elise Israel won re-election, but challenger Chase Hubbard squeaked by incumbent Jeff Turner.
Meanwhile, in the judicial races:
Cressie Thigpen leads the count in the 13-way instant-runoff race for a Court of Appeals seat (Doug McCullough has the second-highest number of votes; final results aren’t yet known). Martha Geer defeated Dean Poirier, and Rick Elmore beat Steven Walker for the remaining Court of Appeals spots.
Alan Thornburg, who had been appointed to fill one of the Superior Court judgeships for District 28, retained his seat against Kate Dreher. Marvin Pope, meanwhile, handily defeated Heather Whitaker Goldstein for another Superior Court judge’s spot.
In District 28 judicial races, incumbent Shirley Brown won re-election to the other District 28 seat, defeating challenger John Jay Watson. Patricia Kaufman Brown won against Rhonda Moorefield. In unopposed contests, District 28 judges Rebecca Knight, Julie Keppel and Sharon Barrett all won re-election.
And finally, in the Buncombe County School races, winners were Bob Rhinehart (Enka district), Pat Bryan (Erwin), and Lisa Baldwin (Reynolds).
And the overwhelming majority of Buncombians supported a state constitutional amendement prohibiting felons from serving as sheriff.