GOP chooses Fryar to replace Dunn in commish race

After two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the Buncombe County Republican Party’s Executive Committee on Aug. 18 chose auto dealer Mike Fryar, who placed last by a narrow margin in the May 6 Republican primary, to replace Joe Dunn in the Board of Commissioners’ race.

A release from the party touted Fryar’s role in the bipartisan “Let Asheville Vote” campaign last year, which successfully put a referendum on partisan elections on the ballot, and highlighted his opposition to zoning and involuntary annexation.

Fryar told Xpress that he’s ready to “work as hard as I can” and described himself as “just a simple man that wants to do the right thing for the people.”

He said major issues he’s going to be campaigning on include property taxes and a referendum on district elections.

“We’ve had a revaluation where property taxes have gone up astronomically. Now, with the next evaluation, they’ll probably be going down, but the county’s still going to want the money to keep flowing, so they’ll try to raise taxes,” he said. “I’m opposed to that. I’m a small-government person.”

As for district elections, “five commissioners is just not enough. I’m sorry, but the county’s pretty big. It’s not just about what I think, but the people of Asheville and Buncombe should decide. If they’re 80 percent against district elections, I’m fine with that. But the commissioners are just people, they shouldn’t make every decision, especially not one that big.”

(A proposal by incumbent Board Chair Nathan Ramsey attempting to put district elections on the ballot in November failed on Aug. 5 when no other commissioner would second the motion.)

In the May 2008 Republican primary, Fryar finished last out of a field of six, narrowly behind retired engineer Steve Bledsoe. Dunn, a former Asheville City Council member, had been the top vote-getter among Republicans, but announced on July 24 that he was dropping out of the race to spend more time with his family.

The Buncombe GOP then asked for applications, and received three: from Fryar, Bledsoe and Biltmore Forest precinct chair Victoria Wynn.

In challenging the Democrat candidates in the race, Fryar will be joined by John Carroll, Don Yelton and Ron McKee, along with Ramsey.



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