Three candidates make the cut in WNC congressional races

Celebrate good times: Rep. Patsy Keever was joined by a big group of supporters at the Grey Eagle to revel in her decisive primary win over Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.

Statehouse Rep. Patsy Keever decisively beat her main rival in the 10th District Democratic primary — Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy — garnering 58 percent of the vote to Bellamy's 27 percent. Rutherfordton resident and political newcomer Timothy Murphy received almost 16 percent of the total.

In the district’s Republican primary, four-term incumbent Patrick McHenry earned 73 percent of the vote, swamping challengers Ken Fortenberry and Don Peterson.

Last year, the N.C. General Assembly redrew the district to include most of Asheville, and Keever's margin of victory was even larger on her home turf. Keever received 67 percent of the Buncombe County vote compared to Bellamy's 28 percent.

On May 8, Keever enjoyed the win with supporters at the Grey Eagle, at one point joining them in a circle dance to Kool & the Gang's "Celebration." Noting that she was "pleasantly surprised" by the margin of victory, she discussed the race’s next steps with Xpress.

"I've very excited, ready to get to work. … We're trying to unify everybody," she said. "The people that are unhappy with the way things are going in Washington, who want a change, who are ready for a change — we're going to be a voice for the people."

McHenry released an email statement saying he was ready for the contest ahead, and that it presented voters with a clear choice.

“I look forward to listening to voters across the 10th District. I will keep fighting for our values," he said, adding that he had congratulated Keever on the phone.

"I am looking forward to a spirited and substantive debate over the next few months," McHenry added. "We have two clearly contrasting visions of America. This election will represent a choice on taxes, repealing Obamacare, and job creation. I'm glad to have the opportunity to debate those issues with Rep. Keever."

Rogers wins 11th District Democratic spot; GOP’s Meadows faces runoff

In the redrawn 11th Congressional District, which no longer includes much of Asheville, Hayden Rogers won the Democratic primary with 56 percent of the vote, compared to 30 percent for Cecil Bothwell and 14 percent for Tom Hill.

Rogers, who previously served as Rep. Heath Shuler's chief of staff, called the win "the first step in our effort to continue moving Western North Carolina forward," in an email release. "While others in this race are trying to pull this country to the right and left, I am committed to moving it forward," he added.

Meanwhile, Republican Mark Meadows had a clear lead over the seven other GOP primary candidates but didn't reach the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff. He received 38 percent of the vote, while second-place finisher Vance Patterson garnered 24 percent.

The two will face off in a July 17 runoff election to determine the party's nominee (assuming the officially certified results don’t change the outcome of the primary vote).

— Jake Frankel can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 115, or at David Forbes contributed reporting to this article.

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

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