On March 1 at Magnolia’s Raw Bar & Grille in downtown Asheville, the local Young Republican’s club hosted a “grand old party” to honor their first “Buncombe County Ringer.” The event, presented by Matthew Hoagland, founder and chairman of Asheville’s Young Republican’s club, was a game-show style, three-question quiz about Asheville’s beer, history, and politics. The contestants were ten of this year’s Republican candidates for Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in each of Asheville’s three districts, as well as Glenda Weinert and J.B. Howard, who are running for chair.
Questions and answers were immediately followed by those short sound bites characteristic of popular game shows, like the dreaded buzzer or “wha-whaah” sound of a wrong answer and exciting “ding-ding-ding!” sound of approval, which added to the humorous and playful nature of the event. Additionally, prizes were handed out in the end to every candidate, winner or loser. The top contestants to answer two or more questions correctly — Republican candidate for the county’s register of deeds, Pat Cothran, and Mike Fryar — received pocket-sized copies of the North Carolina State Constitution.
On the losing end of the spectrum, prizes for those who answered one or no questions correctly included “Almost Vegetarian: A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time,” which was awarded to Glenda Reinert, and a copy of Michael Moore’s “Dude, Where’s My Country?” awarded to Christina Kelley Merrill. For which, a general response of laughter and applause was received by the candidates and audience, wrapping up a successful first event of its kind for the Young Republicans.
For the 30 or so people in attendance, the majority of the evening was spent socializing among political candidates and citizens alike, discussing local and national news or recent happenings. Although the younger crowd was not as present as the older, a healthy mix of the two allowed room for good conversation on how Buncombe county Republicans can best serve the Asheville community. 21-year-old Joshua Cates, member of the Young Republican’s club, said he also attended the occasional Young Democrats club meetings, stating that he is mostly well received by the overwhelming population of Democratic youth in the city. “But,” he added, “I did get stood up for a date once because I said I was a Republican.”
Hoagland founded the Young Republicans club just last August as a way to represent the conservative vote for adults between the ages of 18 and 40. The Buncombe County Republican Party, though smaller than the Democratic Party in Buncombe, includes a small group of teenagers, but Hoagland mentions that not since 2003 has there been an organized group of Republicans among young adults. His motivation in bringing the young Republican voice to Asheville is done both enthusiastically and professionally.
The Young Republican’s club will host another Ringer next month for Buncombe County candidates running for election at the state level.
For more information about the local Young Republicans, click here.
UPDATE: Watch video of the first “Buncombe County Ringer”:
Video via “BuncombeCountyVideo’s” YouTube Channel.