Asheville City Council election results

In a hotly contested but poorly attended Asheville City Council election, yesterday centrist incumbent Jan Davis repeated his commanding first-place victory in the October primary, winning the top slot again this time. And the referendum on whether Asheville elections will become partisan showed a substantial majority choosing to keep them nonpartisan.

According to a preliminary count, Davis received 21.4 percent of the vote, and will be joined on Council by fellow incumbent and second-place finisher Brownie Newman (who received 18.5 percent) and newcomer Bill Russell (who received 15.6 percent).

In an exceedingly close, nail-biter of a contest for the third-place seat on Council, Russell narrowly beat out incumbent Bryan Freeborn (at 15.4 percent), Dwight Butner (at 15.0 percent) and Elaine Lite (at 14.0 percent).

The partisan-election referendum was determined by a decidedly larger margin. Eighty percent of voters voted “no” on the question, while 20 percent voted “yes.”

— Jon Elliston, managing editor

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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74 thoughts on “Asheville City Council election results

  1. Ashvegas

    Jon, a few posts down, MountainX promised election returns Tuesday night. What happened?

  2. jamie

    go otter! alas. if only Lindsey Simerly and Christopher Chiaromonte were joining you. Maybe Asheville can do better next time.

  3. Jon Elliston

    Ash,

    You ask a good question. The answer: We had a report all ready to file from the Board of Elections, but couldn’t get a signal on the county wi-fi. Then we did a couple hours of reporting at various candidate events. Then we tried sending the report from our home office, but again were stymied by the fluctuating wi-fi. At that point, exhaustion got the better of us.

    Which is to say that, next time, we’ll be quicker on the trigger with the election results, even if it means going into the office at an hour that some fear is when our building’s ghosts come out;)

    — Jon Elliston

  4. Matt Mittan

    Hurrah for Asheville’s voters for keeping local elections equally accessible for ALL citizens to participate… Now, how about getting County elections non-partisan next?

  5. Musoscribe

    Christopher Chiaromonte? Isn’t he that homeless-looking guy who always attends City Council meetings, waits his turn, and gets up and then rambles on some wooly, tangential unrelated issue like making the police vehicles run on hemp oil, or using telepathy instead of wi-fi?

  6. ashvegas

    understood. i had the same problems. how come you can’t get a Buncombe wi-fi connection at the county offices right next door to the courthouse? maddening.

  7. Green Wizard

    Fat Chance, Mittan. That would only add more Repugnants to the commission, just like Bill Russell.
    Hey, I’m a progressive blogger, can I come on your show?

  8. White Wizard

    Green Wizard! Last we heard from you, you were bragging about going around illegally filling out false names on multiple petition forms in an effort to scuttle the referendum effort to let the people vote on the partisan/non-partisan issue. Very progressive of you.

  9. travelah

    Green wiz, nah, your a fauxprog … are the voting citizens of Asheville repugnant to you and are you opposed to open and democratic elections? It would seem 80% of the “repugnant” voters of Asheville do not agree with you.

  10. Matt Mittan

    From an email sent to me by Green Wizard mid way through election day….

    “I have been informally polling people at my polling place all day and it has been nearly 60% for partisan elections. You have lost this battle!!!!”

    Good job polling there wiz… you were about as on target as you usually are. LOL

    Also, from the same email….

    “However, all will be forgiven if you punk the Mum like you punked Lumpy last year. Progressives Rule!”

    Where is the whole “punk lumpy” thing coming from? I never punked anybody. Taylor broke the rules, I enforced the agreement that both campaigns had made and Shuler walked out. I would say the VOTERS got punked in that scenario. (IMHO)

    And no – you can’t come on my show Wiz… unless of course you call in… just like everyone is welcome to call in.

  11. Nam Vet

    Fauxprog indeed. Another guy thought that Freeborn only voted against the Ellington so he would appeal to more progressives just to get elected, then later become a fauxprog himself and for with the developers so our local progressives would have more of our tax money to play with. We do need a few more parks and a permanent solution for the homeless don’t we? :)

    Matt Mittan thanks for fighting for non-partisan elections on your radio show. 80% NO is quite a message to send. Yee haw! I am against unbridled development that favors the out of town rich, but in some respects it will be nice that the Fab Four hold on our Council has been broken. The vote now will be 4-3 the other way most of the time. And this also means MoveOn.org type power plays like making our elections partisan are at least over for the time being. Perhaps now we will have more of a leaning to home grown Ashevillians and preserving our traditions culture here.

  12. travelah
    “Your” is not the contraction of you are, you’re is; “your” is the possessive of you as in “your grammar is sub-par.” Just thought I would give you a heads-up on that. If you’re going to insult someone, your language should match the sharpness of your thought, which, on second thought, maybe it did.

  13. dwells

    Gwiz- what’s more repugnant, a candidate with hard-working values, or a voter who pulls the straight Dem ticket just so he can get more free stuff off the taxpayers backs?!!

  14. Ralph,

    No. I swallowed the MLA handbook.
    My point, if I do have one, is that in a forum where people are sharing opinions and ideas it might not be all that bad of an idea to have at least a passing familiarity with the language. My guess is that these are some of he same people who are clamoring for “English only Education” yet they themselves seem to be sorely lacking in the basic rules and structures that make up said language.

  15. Well — being a publisher — obviously I agree with you in general; but, alas, the overall level of literacy nationwide is rather pathetic to say the least.

    Therefore,

    We uns talks best we kin.

    Language is merely a tool to convey meaning… but… yes… sharpen your tools where possible.

  16. travelah

    pants, once you have successfully tackled your perceived lack of composition skills in others, would you have any objections if other contributors begin the nearly impossible task of addressing your poor manners. A poor soul who is able to avoid all typing errors remains at a distinct disadvantage when his lack of civil manner and poor judgment smear every thought he is trying to convey. … just a thought from one of teh iliterit massis.

  17. travelah,
    Typing errors and grammatical errors are not one in the same. As far as my manners go, if I wanted to be rude I would make up a silly (and awful sounding) nickname to apply to you and your merry band of illiterates; something like “fauxprog”, but without the inherent lameness and condescension in that pseudo-word.

  18. travelah

    pants, are you having a bad time with sensible people? Is “pseudo-word” an actual word or did you make that up to complete your sentence? If the truth be told, I looked at the word I typed as “yours”, thought about it for a millisecond and pressed submit because I simply (shockingly enough) didn’t care. I didn’t anticipate an anal retentive spelling freak to catch a case of hives over the word “yours”.

    pants, you are not very good at this. Why don’t you have a cookie, relax and recognize your birthing a cow over the word “yours” is at least a silly event and quite fauxprogressive of you to boot.

  19. travelah,
    pseudo-word is not a word, that is why I used a hyphen. Language has rules, if you want to be lazy and ignore them go right ahead, just be willing to accept the consequences of such disregard in a public space.

    PS,
    I am not bothered by your personal insults.

  20. On the other hand, pants-of-the-hate-for-trousers, English is a wonderfully MALLEABLE language soaring to heights of lyric poetry and dropping into the dank depths of paronomasia or tripping tantalizingly toward tasty transports of ably alluring awesome alliteration. It’s a powerful vehicle you can rhyme on a dime or parse the word ‘no’ into major headlines.

    Yet… none of it makes any sense at all if one is not communicating.

    Speak, if you will, in tones dripping with the pure essence of erudition or in the fluid verbal shortcuts and polyglot dialects of the born mountaineer … and it all matters for naught if the message is not understandable.

    Speak, again, in either of the above or a wondrous mixture with something to say and we’ll understand you, be your verbal or posted epistle about the mundane or the exalted.

    For WE are readers of the purple page.

  21. Matt Mittan

    So everyone – besides GWiz- agrees that we should have non-partisan elections in Buncombe County then?

  22. dwells

    rotflmao
    Yes, Matt, except for the candidates who need voters that hear Cha-Ching when they press D in the ballot box.

  23. The Wine Mule

    Well, at least Bryan “I kick ass” Freeborn is out. Maybe, just maybe, the grownups will prevail on city council.

  24. PatchyOtter

    What is this i have heard about a recount that occured? How many of the provisional votes were accepted, and what would the outcome have been if they were all excepted?

  25. travelah

    pants, of course you are bothered. You would not be birthing this giant cow if you were not bothered LOL. I used the word “yours” and in your fauxprog mind, that is displaying great disregard in a public space. Seriously, I haven’t laughed so hard at a discussion post as this one in quite some time. Aint you tired of your pseudo-indignation? :)

  26. Nam Vet

    I am just happy he “hates pants” in private. The sight of his progressive bare ass in public would be at least as unsavory as as the hippy loafer with the hand puppet. :)

  27. Matt Mittan

    I’m not sure about the “Freeborn out” thing. Word on the street is that he had a few words for Bill Russell at the water meeting this week saying that he would demand a recount. I wasn’t there so it’s only hear-say, but realize that the precident is that if a seat is vacated (IE: Holly Jones runs and wins for County Commission, or Mumpower goes to Washington) then the next highest vote getter would be appointed to the vacated seat. Right now it would be Dwight Butner… but if there were a recount that moved Freeborn to the #4 spot – he may be appointed to the council… again.

  28. What, exactly, in your vast knowledge of me would you say qualifies me as a “fauxprog”? Would it be the Volvo that I don’t drive, the heath insurance I don’t have, the house I don’t own, or the $100 I gave to Mike Gravel?
    Please, oh surly Kreskin of the internets, indulge me in your astute powers of stereotyping so as that I may share in your glorious ability to lump everyone who thinks differently than yourself into one large vat of simple minded representation.

  29. travelah

    Oh no, those folk are just a subset of the fauxprog world. You are a unique element all to yourself. Have a cookie with yours and youns.

  30. stay-put

    If “Pants” is a fauxprog, then where would you fall in the political spectrum? True Prog? Or Faux Conservative? Or perhaps you dont have any leanings other than against? In which case you may seem to be more of a Faux Faux.

  31. It has always amused me that progressives are generally again progress and conservatives do not usually advocate conserving. And liberals are anything but that in the true sense of the word. And few moderates actually moderate.

    Perhaps we need to completely relabel political beliefs into a entirely new set of terms. Since this thread has evolved into a lot of talk about language and usage, perhaps we can get the task out of the way right now. Suggestions, anyone?

  32. Actually Travelah I am not all that unique, there are plenty of us lower middle class folk who haven’t drunk the Conservative kool-aid, who aren’t mollified by empty rhetoric, blathering about God and morality and Gays (while at the same time trolling for hand jobs in an airport, or lusting after young men in the Capitol), and who are proud to call ourselves American’s, in spite of all that you and your cynical cohort misinformed thugs would have everyone believe.

  33. travelah

    stay put, I fall int the category of pragmatic realist and reflect the politics of a social libertarian and an economic and fiscal conservative. Does that help you define a label for myself? I hope so for I love labels.

  34. travelah

    pants, do you realize the revealing character of words and sentences? You are certainly a false progressive. From your post I can ascertain that you are anti-prosperity, anti-wealth (unless it’s yours), a political bigot and certainly revealing a hatred for anybody who professes Christ. Now, thats pretty close, eh?

    Just out of curiosity, who are my cynical cohort misinformed thugs? (and you do realize that your grammar in constructing that absurd sentence was in a word, awful?)

  35. older than dirt

    “It has always amused me that progressives are generally again progress and conservatives do not usually advocate conserving”

    Actually Ralph, The word is “agin” progress,
    Hope Pants doesn’t mind

  36. Older Than Dirt, I have carefully analyzed all my political beliefs and the term we still designate them by is simple ‘correct.’ I am then, if you will, a Correctivist. Hows about you?

    And Pants, for all his talk of correct grammar and usage, made Americans plural with an apostrophe. No longer acceptable style.

    I highly recommend everyone read “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” by Lynne Truss, a reasonably recent tome that provides a very entertaining look at grammar and the like.

  37. Wait…this thread started with ya’ll blaming New Yorkers, Floridians, Mid-Westerners, Californians, Bostonians, and New Englanders in general for the problems of Asheville, and I am a bigot…for what? Pointing out Conservative hypocrisy? If this is a revelation of my character then you need to get out more. I mean I realize that this tactic is one of the new favorite practices of the Right; to call all those who wish to expose bigotry bigots themselves. I guess I would qualify as a hypocrite for pointing out your deplorable grammar and then making a typo’ in my own comment (that I can accept) but this “I read the 500 words you wrote online and now I know all about your life style” is simply laughable. And I have nothing against Christians, in fact, I hope to one day meet one.

  38. older than dirt

    Ralph, I will be sure to be on the lookout for panda’s with guns on the streets of our fair city.

  39. travelah

    Ha! I feel like I’m conversing with a bonafide Democrat. One use of the word “yours” spurs the bomblast of an idiot, an idiot being one who allows his abundant ignorance to overwhelm his modicum of intellect producing a measurable degree of idiocy. Let’s bring this to the appropriate level for the last time and then pants can munch on a cookie ….

    Look At Pants
    See Pants Run
    Watch Pants Fall Down.

    Now, back to something sensible. People from the northeast are not the cause of Asheville’s problems. Those problems are caused by outside equity from a number of sources and an over-abundance of fauxprogs ty8ng to shove their idiocy down everybody’s throat … er .. that settles it.

  40. Gordon Smith

    Fun times at the Mtn. X blog. Sounds like hens clucking in here.

    Out of curiosity – What’s a fauxprog? And how do you define a true progressive, folks?

  41. Travelah,
    You have all sorts of crazy assumptions. Nope, no Democrat here– and just for the record personal insults do not constitute an argument, in fact they generally reveal a lack of one, so keep on with the personal insults it is very revealing of your own character.

    oh and as far as this statement goes: “From your post I can ascertain that you are anti-prosperity, anti-wealth (unless it’s yours), a political bigot and certainly revealing a hatred for anybody who professes Christ. Now, that’s pretty close, eh?”

    I’d be interested to see where I said those things, I mean specifically…because I never said any such thing, you seem to be projecting again.

    ps, your grammar is improving with each post, keep up the good work!

  42. Be Too Real

    I am a new member here.

    Travelah, whoever you are and whatever you advocate, I pray you do not consider yourself one to “advocate Christ.” Your sarcastic, caustic, petty and hateful, high-schoolish personal attacks are not edifying, acceptable or indeed even permissable for a “Christian” of any kind. I do not usually say things like this to people, but I believe it needs to be said! As one who does “advocate Christ,” I have taken it upon, myself to call you on this, since you have used the mention of Christ to indirecly back up your juvenile and malicious bad-mouthing.

    I have plenty more to say to you, so please respond. I created an account on here just to engage you.

    Pants, why do you keep egging this person on? Is this, like, a total “cut-down fight” a la 1976? Dyn-o-mite!

    Travelah, please respond and state your case for justifying your rudeness. Your comments on here are largely unnacceptable as well as highly immature, and it is a credit to the MountanX staff that they are kind enough and and inclusive enough to have approved such nonsense for posting. Have something to say or for heaven’s sake stop taking up space with your useless hostility!

    I assume as a “Christian” of some sort, you hold the Bible to be relevant if not holy. I therefore point you to the book of Ephesians Chapters 4 & 5 — especially verse 4:31 for starters!

    To everyone else: Wow. I have enjoyed this repartee. What a cool community forum… many intelligent comments from many different viewpoints. Hopefully we can continue to de-factionalize good old Asheville and be a true community, whatever our disagreements. This is clearly a stimulating, intelligent and useful forum, and it is interesting as well as being accessible to many who will derive their impression of Asheville from it. Selah, and blessings to all.

  43. Be Too Real

    Ralph Roberts, you rock! As a former editorial assistant and proofreader, trained in old school journalism, Chicago, MLA and good-old-basic English a bit, your writing and care for the language is gratifying and heartening to me! Lovely! I would like to read other things you have written! Pants cares, too. I love that. I don’t worry ’bout it 2 much online cuz I know I know how if I want to. (Ditto for how I talk… in my family we grow up bilingual — we speak both mountain and “edu-ma-cated.”)

    Maybe it’s an Asheville thing to care about that online… I’ve not often seen that on other threads and forums.

    Hope we don’t just pettily nitpick each other to death, though (ahem, Pants & Travelah). And Pants, you must be bothered by Travelah’s insults, cuz u keep responding to them so passionately — though your responses are indeed quite incisive and accurate (as well as entertaining)!

  44. “…and who are proud to call ourselves American’s”

    -Don’t you hate pants?
    Nov 09, 2007 at 09:57 AM

    i’m new here and i don’t really know what’s going on politically but i just wanted to point out that critiquing someone’s grammar or spelling on a free magazine’s blog makes you a smarmy asshole–and also that you used a possessive when it should have just been a plural.

    quit bitching and say something intelligent so i have half an idea of what’s going on here. after Pants corrected the your/you’re thing the whole discussion went to shit, digressing into liberal vs. conservative 9th grade debate class bullshit.

  45. sorry for the potty mouth action on my part–didn’t know it would filter “A-HOLE” and “SIHT” when they were by themselves, but not BS

  46. travelah

    Be Too Real, I don’t know about you but I am highly amused by pants hyper-asinine focus and projection based on my not correcting a single word in one of my posts. In fact it’s highly entertaining. Well, this is the internet where any jockey on a stool can attempt to be the latest Horatio.

    By the way, that was an insightful and artful ad hom attack you engaged in. I am guessing that you do not know your scriptures as well as you infer I should nor will you point out where I am angry, bitter, wrathful, clamoring or evil speaking. Quite to the contrary I am quite happy, joyful and not at all clamoring. If you would care for an exegesis of the passage, I could arrange that.

    I would like to know what “kind” of Christian you are and how you came to ally yourself with one who states he has not yet met a Christian. Of course that doesn’t really matter, does it? Who did you vote for?

  47. Travelah,

    Im still waiting for you to show me where I said the following things that you claim I said:

    “From your post I can ascertain that you are anti-prosperity, anti-wealth (unless it’s yours), a political bigot and certainly revealing a hatred for anybody who professes Christ. Now, that’s pretty close, eh?”

  48. sooooooo a discussion about city council elections end up in “you’re not a real christian!!!!” i know you might have lost track of it but waaaaaaaay up at the tippy top of this post it says “Please keep your comments relevant to blog entry.” this juvenile slap play belongs in some other darker part of the internet, preferably one with “flaming allowed” in the subject header.

  49. travelah

    pants, here you go

    “Actually Travelah I am not all that unique, there are plenty of us lower middle class folk who haven’t drunk the Conservative kool-aid, who aren’t mollified by empty rhetoric, blathering about God and morality and Gays (while at the same time trolling for hand jobs in an airport, or lusting after young men in the Capitol), and who are proud to call ourselves American’s, in spite of all that you and your cynical cohort misinformed thugs would have everyone believe.”

    You have anti-wealth, anti-prosperity, political bigotry and an anti-Christian disgust painted all over your comments. Even a fauxprog should be able to see through that.

    Pants, have a cookie and share who you voted for.

  50. travelah

    tut, like Ralph stated, this is a form of entertainment that pretty much arose over a spelling nazi giving birth to a cow .. :) ….. tut, what did you think of the election?

  51. Nam Vet

    I was just reminded that Bryan Freeborn was on Matt Mittan’s show a few days before the election. On the show, Bryan referred to “the ILLUSION of private property rights”. Geez I am glad he was defeated. I guess the Vermont college he attended taught socialism. Surprise? I suggest the socialists here from up there go back and live with the high taxes and morally bankrupt NE they have created for themselves. The reason we are attractive here is the South is still family friendly, church friendly, and we have smaller government and lower taxes. Socialists GO HOME! We don’t want nor need your “help” in Asheville. We’ve been doing pretty well all along.

  52. Carrie

    Nam: I am once again disappointed with your posts of such self-righteous hatred. First, US citizens moving here from the north can in no way be “denizens” unless you’re under the impression the south won the Civil War and is now a seperate country (different post). Also, is Asheville only for those people who agree with you? I’d love to know where you got that impression. I’m sure there are quite a few home grown socialists in Asheville. They are home. I can understand your frustration with a growing Asheville but maybe you should stop lumping everyone who’s moving here into some category of greedy evil-doers. People from all over are very attracted to Asheville for the resons you stated and many more. Alot of times it is the differences of it’s citizens that’s a main draw. People are going to keep coming regardless of your hatred and sense of entitlement.

  53. Nam Vet… well said, bro! Instead of property rights, it turns out Bryan was the illusion. ;-)

    Carrie, what makes you think the South lost the war? I remind you of the many ways in which the South has triumphed over the rest of the country — Coca Cola, barbecue, NASCAR, country music, beautiful ladies of the silver screen, much more… and last and perhaps not least of all WHY do you want to live in the South instead of the North? Because life here is better.

    No, we did not lose the war, there are so many ways in which we won.

  54. Carrie

    HaHa, Ralph…Maybe bringing up the war was not a good idea! Just trying to point out we’re all one country. Definately don’t want my comments to be a north v. south discussion. But I do agree, life here, for me, is better.

  55. i have no idea what the candidates stood for, or even if people think that whoever got elected was good or not because no one’s really said anything about it. well some people don’t seem to like freeborn but i don’t exactly know why. i’d just like to know what’s going on here.

  56. ps to the above people–you all enjoy lots of great socialist benefits like, well, public schools, roads, parks, sewage treatment, the justice system, and just about everything else you pay for that isn’t for the war or tax cuts for the rich. not saying i am a socialist but denying that america doesn’t benefit from socialism is hooey. if we wouldn’t have gone to war in iraq your taxes wouldn’t be so ridiculously high.

  57. Nam Vet

    Carrie, no hatred here. And I do have several friends from NYC and the NE. And tell them the same thing. Move here because you admire the culture of the South and for heaven’s sake don’t try to make us into what you came from. There must be something in the water in NYC that makes most people from there think they know more than anyone else–especially Southern “hicks”; and socialist taxation fixation. Hey, it didn’t work up there so why bring that bankrupt philosophy with you when you move here? That is the definition of insanity, trying the same failed thing over and over again.

    Ralph, thanks for the support. And one more thing Carrie. The War Between The States (the official name of that war) has been distorted beyond recognition of actual facts by northern history books. Fact 1, the War was NOT fought over slavery. It was fought over TAXES, unfair taxes imposed by the newly elected Lincoln and his northern congressional majority. Taxes imposed ONLY on the South with the intent to use all that money up north mainly around Wash DC. The Morrill Tariff act raised taxes on Southern exports from 20 to 50%. That was the catalyst for the South seceding and forming their own nation, the CSA. Fact 2: Lincoln and Gen Sherman committed unforgiveable war crimes the last year of the war. Civilians and their farms were purposely targeted. Union invaders burned every farm to the ground after they stole livestock and food, and often after the officers allowed their men to rape the women. Several Southern cities were burned to the ground, including Atlanta and Columbia. 20,000 Southern civilians perished at the hands of these war criminal Union troops. All women, children and old men. That, coupled with the 7 year Union Army occupation of the South in “reconstruction”, has left a sour taste in the mouths of us here and to this day makes many of us suspicious of yankee northerners.

    So by all means welcome to Asheville. But please learn our history, customs, and try to blend in some. Also, here in the South, strangers smile and say good morning to each other. A custom you rarely see up north.

  58. travelah

    tut,
    The socialists believe our taxes are much too low and they should redistribute our income. Not being in Iraq would not reduce our tax burden. It might have reduced our national debt but not our individual taxes.

  59. Carrie

    Nam: Clearly you have strong feelings about the civil war. I absolutely did not want to bring up this debate. I only meant that the word “denizen”, means those who are not citezens of our country and you were using as something different.
    Also, I did not want a South v. North debate. I think it is futile to debate the past. I really just want us …people who have always been here, such as yourself, and people who are good but new, such as me…to get along together and find a way to make Asheville wonderful. What do you think?

  60. Nam Vet

    “It has always amused me that progressives are generally again progress and conservatives do not usually advocate conserving. And liberals are anything but that in the true sense of the word. And few moderates actually moderate. Perhaps we need to completely relabel political beliefs into a entirely new set of terms.”

    Thank you Ralph. Yes you are right.

    Liberal = Socialism lite. Tolerant? Not if you are a “rightwinger”.

    Moderate = I don’t really care about the issues. Just leave me in the middle.

    Conservative = Just let me make my first million, damned the cost to the community.

    Libertarian = the original liberal. Champion of individual rights, personal freedom, small centralized government, and low taxes.

    I guess you can see I am a libertarian. :) That is the only category that has remained true to their original intent.

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