Petition drive update: Scales will face Williams for DA; Waldrop likely on commission ballot

Photo of Ben Scales by Alicia Funderburk.
Photo of Ben Scales by Alicia Funderburk.

Ben Scales turned in more than 7,958 verified signatures to the Buncombe County Board of Elections by the June 12 deadline, earning him an unaffiliated spot on the Nov. 4 district attorney ballot against Democrat Todd Williams.

He needed 7,331 signatures to get on the ballot. Rebecca Knight, a former Buncombe County District Court judge, turned in 5,556 signatures to the board of elections, missing the mark. Scales’ campaign had been in the works for a year; Knight only began her effort in late May.

Scales, a local attorney in private practice, specializes in representing defendants charged with marijuana violations. Volunteers with groups such as the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network were instrumental in helping gather the signatures of registered Buncombe County voters for his successful petition drive. He says his top priorities as DA would be prosecuting domestic violence and environmental cases.

Despite his activism on the marijuana issue, Scales says he’s going to try to position himself to the right of Williams politically, hoping support from moderates and registered Republicans could help propel him to victory in the general election.

Williams crushed longtime District Attorney Ron Moore in the May 6 Democratic primary, winning 68 percent of the vote.  Williams was endorsed by a variety of progressive leaders in the primary, including Asheville City Council members Gordon Smith and Cecil Bothwell as well as Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger.

Board of Commissioners race

Nancy Waldrop also seems likely to have enough signatures to earn an unaffiliated spot on the fall ballot to run for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in District 3, which includes Enka-Candler, Sandy Mush and Biltmore Forest. Waldrop needs to collect 2,300 signatures from registered voters in District 3 by June 27 (Election Department staffers had previously said the deadline was June 12 but Board of Elections Chair John Watson determined in a June 10 meeting that the deadline is actually June 27). As of June 12, Waldrop had submitted 4,159 signatures, although staffers had not yet determined how many of them were from registered voters in District 3.

In that district’s May 6 Republican primary, political newcomer Miranda DeBruhl beat Waldrop’s husband, incumbent David King, with 59 percent of the vote.

Waldrop is a retired Buncombe County schoolteacher with a Master’s Degree in Education from Western Carolina University. She previously co-owned  a small coffee and gift shop, as well as a real estate office.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning writer and reporter who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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