Campaign season heats up: Buncombe commissioner candidate forum July 30

Early voting starts Thursday, May 26, for the June 7 primary.

A Wednesday, July 30, candidate forum unofficially kicks off what’s shaping up to be an intense campaign season for seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

In District 2, which encompasses Black Mountain, Fairview and Weaverville, incumbent Democrat Ellen Frost faces a rematch with Republican Christina Merrill. The swing district is nearly evenly divided between registered Republican and Democratic voters. In 2012, Frost beat Merrill by only 18 votes, giving Democrats a majority of the board’s seats. Merrill disputed the election results, mounting an unsuccessful legal effort to discount many provisional ballots cast by left-leaning residents of Warren Wilson College.

Since then, Merrill has been an outspoken critic of the board’s Democratic majority, urging fiscal conservatism.

Frost trounced former Commissioner Carol Peterson in this year’s Democratic primary, touting her support of measures she says created jobs, improved schools and helped the environment over the last two years.

The two candidates will debate each other for the first time this year at a July 30 forum hosted by the Council of Independent Business Owners.

District 3 opponents will also face each other at the forum for the first time. The district stretches from Arden to Sandy Mush and encompasses the most conservative area of the county. On the Nov. 4 ballot, Republican Miranda DeBruhl is matched up against Nancy Waldrop, who is mounting an unaffiliated campaign after DeBruhl defeated her husband, Commissioner David King, in this year’s Republican primary. In that contest, DeBruhl blasted King for voting with the Democratic majority in support of a budget that raised property taxes and a measure that set carbon-reduction goals.

To get her name on the ballot, Waldrop successfully solicited thousands of signatures from registered voters this spring, casting DeBruhl as a right-wing extremist. This is the first time either candidate has run for political office.

The board currently consists of four Democrats and three Republicans — a balance of power that could change this year depending on the Nov. 4 election results.

The candidate forum is noon on Wednesday, July 30, at the Haynes Conference Center at the Enka Campus of A-B Tech. A lunch buffet from Chick-fil-A will be available for purchase. For more details contact CIBO at 254-2426 or


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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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One thought on “Campaign season heats up: Buncombe commissioner candidate forum July 30

  1. Unaffiliated Voter

    The Buncombe Co Commissioners recently cost the taxpayers another unnecessary $500,000 by rewarding co. employees with an extra day’s pay because ONE department manager decided, against policy, to give his dept. 1.5 days off due to ‘snow’.

    Was ANY discussion given to making the Dept Head, Drew Reisinger, RESPONSIBLE, and/or, making up the difference in the ONE dept that pulled this stunt? The Commissioners REFUSE to answer this question.

    Let’s see what the candidates think of this…since those elected won’t speak.

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