GOP fails to find candidate, Turner presumptive winner

Brian Turner will be running unopposed for a second term representing Buncombe County's House District 116. Photo courtesy of Turner

Representative Brian Turner looks to be heading back to Raleigh for a second term. The Democratic incumbent for House District 116 is the presumptive winner of November’s election since the Republican Party did not file a candidate by the Aug. 25 deadline. Kay Olsen, Turner’s original opponent, dropped out of the race, citing business reasons.

Nathan West, chair of the Buncombe County GOP said they couldn’t find anyone to replace her. “We wish we could have had someone to run against Turner because Buncombe County needs effective leadership in Raleigh. It’s unfortunate,” he said.

Buncombe County Republican leadership has had its hands full filling a number of vacancies triggered by Miranda DeBruhl’s resignation from the board of commissioners.

Turner defeated Republican incumbent Tim Moffitt in 2014. Upon learning he won’t have an official opponent, Turner told Xpress, “It’s a pleasant surprise, but it really won’t change anything I’m doing in my role as a representative. Even without an opponent, I’m going to be active and engage with the community.”

Looking ahead to his presumptive second term, Turner said he wants to continue a bipartisan approach to work on issues like public education, environmental protection and strengthening the local economy. “We need to bring back some good jobs and also focus on the existing businesses,” he said. “I’m going to continue to work in the way I have in the past. I’m going to have town hall meetings and continue to focus on constituent services.”

Back in 2014, Turner upset Moffitt’s bid for a third term by fewer than 1,000 votes. Turner says he appreciates the chance to represent the traditionally Republican district. “I think that folks are looking for someone who’s going to go to Raleigh and represent them and fight for what’s right for our community. I don’t think party affiliation matters as much as, ‘Are you truly representing the people, or do you have some other agenda?’ My goal is to be in Raleigh focused on the people of my district,” he said.
Buncombe County House Districts
Turner isn’t the only Buncombe County incumbent running unopposed. Representative Susan Fisher of District 114 (that covers most of Asheville) is also considered the presumptive winner. District 115, the county’s only other house district, will feature Democrat incumbent John Ager facing off against Republican Frank Moretz.


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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at

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32 thoughts on “GOP fails to find candidate, Turner presumptive winner

  1. bnap

    Can I suggest an added line:

    After “Nathan West, chair of the Buncombe County GOP said they couldn’t find anyone to replace her. “We wish we could have had someone to run against Turner because Buncombe County needs effective leadership in Raleigh. It’s unfortunate,” he said.”

    with a straight face, seeming to miss the irony of discussing “effective leadership” in the immediate aftermath of the party he chairs failing to even nominate a candidate.

    • bsummers

      Not to mention leading people on with Kay Olsen’s placeholder candidacy. She filed back in December, but never appeared or campaigned at all, used the BCGOP address as her official contact with the State BOE, and Nathan West’s wife as her “treasurer”. (Who is not even answering official mail from the Board of Elections anymore – real effective leadership from the BCGOP…)

    • NFB

      Not only failing to recruit a candidate, but failing to do so in the most Republican of Buncombe’s three legislative districts.

          • bsummers

            If his $2000 poll had told him he any chance of winning, I’m sure he would run. But apparently it didn’t.

            Besides, it’s now 48 hours past the deadline to get on the ballot. Unless you want to start a write-in campaign… Hey, go for it!

          • Peter Robbins

            Can you write “Tim” or do you have to say “Timothy”? It’s hard to keep up with all these common-sense voter-suppression laws, and I want my vote to count!

          • bsummers

            For my part, I honestly don’t want this to turn into taunting Tim. As I’ve said before, I like him on a personal level, & don’t wish him ill – but I will fight to keep him out of office…

  2. Peter Robbins

    On the other hand, there are no indications that Tim Moffitt plans to quit the county commission before his term expires. So, on the whole, this is shaping up to be a good year for Republicans.

  3. Peter Robbins

    Hey, wait a minute. Does this mean we can’t make fun of the Republican candidate for ditching the League of Women Voters debate? Something funny’s going on here.

  4. Briggs Sherwood

    Well .. it is not much of a surprise to me that the Repubahoos can’t put up a candidate w/ Brian Turner’s savvy. They just don’t go there anymore friends.

  5. HRH

    Dumbcombe Co democrackkk CONTROL is inbred amongst the majority of the government screwled … CONTROL is the
    mantra of the ‘crackkks. Always has been.

    • NFB

      Ah, yet another screen name!

      “Unaffiliated”Voter, Yep, OneWhoKnows, and not NRH.

      Am I forgetting any?

    • boatrocker

      Posting time 7:58pm, Aug 28, 2016 AD.

      You did read the letters that make words that the BCGOP could not find a candidate to run as there was no talent, right?
      Just checking.

      Yeah, I guess it truly is Obama’s fault. KKKhemtrails, fakkke moon landing, birthers, slavery, taxes, anchor babies, welfare queens, etc.
      Why don’t I wake up and LOOKLULZ and LISTENLOLZ to the truth.

      How does a single poster keep track of that many names?- if only the mods could help us figure that one out.

    • bsummers

      I know it seems terribly unfair, but the concept of “majority rule” is a central part of American politics and governance. In Buncombe County (yes, let’s have fun & call us all “dumbcombe”…), the majority of registered voters are Democrats, 76,381 to 46,790 Republicans.

      Again, it’s horribly unfair (especially to conservative sockpuppets), but when the overwhelming majority of people in a political subdivision vote for a particular party’s candidates, that party will tend to be in “CONTROL”, as you put it.

      “Democracy is the worst form of government… except for all the others.” Winston Churchill

      • HRH

        Yes, and thankfully we are NOT a democracy. There are reasons why the word never appears in the US Constitution.

  6. Henry

    Glad to see Asheville’s (and Woodfin’s!) very best progressives mocking the GOP for failing to find a candidate to challenge a anti-minimum wage, pro gun, low tax, millionaire.

    Congratulations Barry, Peter, Briggs, & bnap, you all are the big winners!

    • boatrocker

      Us ‘elite’ educated types (high school graduates) who speak Standard American English as our first language call it ‘an anti minimum wage’, Henry.
      But we know how the GOP likes to overlook reed’n n ritin in NC. It leads to reading up in lib’aries and on other websites other than Stormfront. com.

      Glad to see you seeing me.
      The Buncombe County GOP failed to raise a valid candidate, not surprisingly.
      The NASCAR and hot dog guy fled. So did everyone else.
      If the GOP fails to raise a valid candidate to enter the fray, I guess the people have spoken, correct?
      If a chess player fails to make a move and concedes, you can’t say the losing chess player was robbed by the ;lllllllliberal media”, can you?

      What part of Buncombe County did not have a candidate who could run do you not understand.

      It must be Obama’s fault.

      Like the Civil War, you lost. Get over it.

    • bsummers

      Yaaaaay! What do I get? Is it a pony? A new Manza? A herd of Winnebagos?

      • Peter Robbins

        Don’t take the prize, man. They just want us to cop out to their plastic, button-down, middle-class, bummer hassle. Like, you know.

        • bsummers

          Don’t get me wrong – I have a number of disagreements with Brian Turner. But he’s a big improvement over his predecessor, and I can’t imagine that the BCGOP would produce anyone better.

          But “Henry” (if that is is his real name) seems to want to see this as black & white.

          • Peter Robbins

            He can’t use his real name. He’ll get no peace because everyone will asking for his wise advice.

          • Peter Robbins

            Opps. Should be “will be asking.” Guess it’s too late now.

    • HRH

      exactly what I was thinkin too…you know Brian Turner drives a Tesla, so that makes him golden totally…plus his daughter goes to PRIVATE school ! yep. didja know that ? Oh, and I believe he keeps an apt in NYC maybe ? lives in Biltmore Forest along with Terry VanDuyn…both wealthy ELITISTs all the way …

    • bsummers

      BTW, Henry – if you sense a mocking tone from me, it’s because they didn’t just “fail to find a candidate”, they apparently had someone file for the race who had no intention of actually running, just to buy them time and keep a line on the ballot open.

      Surprisingly, it’s perfectly legal to jerk the voters around like that, but it doesn’t mean they get a pass on it.

      • Peter Robbins

        Barry’s right. If you drive up in a clown car and swing open the door, people expect to see at least one entertainer emerge.

        • Peter Robbins

          And notice I said “entertainer” and not “bozo,” so as to avoid even the appearance of mockery.

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