Election results: Buncombe gets new district attorney, commissioner

Todd Williams greeted supporters at Asheville Brewing Company downtown after defeating Ron Moore to become Buncombe County's new district attorney. Photo by Jesse Farthing.

After serving for 24 years as Buncombe County’s District Attorney, Ron Moore lost his job to challenger Todd Williams in a landslide Democratic primary. And in the District 3 Buncombe County commissioners race, political newcomer Miranda DeBruhl defeated incumbent David King in the Republican primary. Here’s a rundown of some of the key local May 6 election results:

Buncombe gets new district attorney

After serving for 24 years as Buncombe County’s District Attorney, Ron Moore lost his job to challenger Todd Williams in a landslide Democratic primary election. Williams faces no Republican challenger in the fall. Meaning, unless an independent mounts a successful write-in campaign, he’s assured the position. Williams has been a defense attorney for 15 years, nine of them as a local public defender. The N.C. Board of Elections reported that Williams received 68 percent of the vote compared to 32 percent for Moore, who conceded the hard-fought election while huddling with supporters at the Apollo Flame restaurant on Brevard Road. “I wish Mr. Williams well,” he told Xpress. “My term runs out the last day of December, so I have time to think about [what I’ll do]. I can retire at the end of the year, but I still have a lot of energy. Now I have more time to fish. I haven’t been able to do that for the last 24 years.” Meanwhile, Williams greeted jubilant supporters at Asheville Brewing Company downtown, saying: “It’s euphoric to be in the presence of all these supporters and volunteers. … It does excite me to think that we have changed history here in Buncombe County, but I’m not sure that’s entirely sunk in yet.”

Ron Moore hugs supporters after conceding defeat to challenger Todd Williams. Photo by Hayley Benton.
Ron Moore hugs supporters after conceding defeat to challenger Todd Williams. Photo by Hayley Benton.

Buncombe Commissioners District 1

Incumbent Brownie Newman soundly defeated challenger Keith Young in the Democratic primary, winning 72 percent of the vote. He faces no Republican challenger in the fall. This will be Newman’s second term on the board. This was Young’s second failed bid for the seat. He was hoping to make history by being the first African American ever elected to the Board of Commissioners.

Buncombe Commissioners District 2

In a primary rematch, incumbent Ellen Frost beat fellow Democrat Carol Peterson, who also lost to her in 2012 after serving for 8 years on the board. Frost, winning 69 percent of the vote, will advance to the fall general election, when she faces what will likely be a tough fight from Republican Christina Merrill. Frost defeated Merrill in 2012 by only 18 votes. Their November race will determine which party controls a majority of the board’s seats.

Buncombe Commissioners District 3

Political newcomer Miranda DeBruhl defeated incumbent David King in the Republican primary, winning 59 percent of the vote. With no Democratic opponent in the fall, she is assured a position on the board, unless an opponent mounts a successful write-in campaign. She was the only challenger to unseat a commissioner in the primary. A nurse and small business owner, she ran to the right of King, focusing her campaign on cutting taxes and slamming King for votes he took that sided with the board’s current Democratic majority.

N.C. Senate District 49

In the Republican state senate primary, former Statehouse Rep. Mark Crawford edged out RL Clark, winning 43 percent of the vote. Clark, a former state senator, received 40 percent. Clarence Young came in third with 17 percent.  Crawford earns a spot on the November ballot against newly appointed Democratic Sen. Terry Van Duyn, who Buncombe Democratic leaders picked to fulfill the remaining term of former Sen. Martin Nesbitt. Nesbitt died in March after representing District 49 in the General Assembly since 2003.

District Court Judge

In the District Court 28 judicial primary, three candidates vied for two spots on the November ballot. The winners were J. Matthew Martin, who earned 39 percent of the vote, and incumbent Judge Ed Clontz, with 35 percent of the vote. They will now face each other in the general election for one seat on the bench. Although the primary was technically nonpartisan, both winners were Democrats. Clontz, a graduate of Southern Illinois University’s law school, was appointed to the court in 2011. Martin, born and raised in Asheville, is an attorney in private practice and an adjunct professor at the UNC and Elon University law schools.  J. Thomas Amburgey, a Republican, finished third in the primary, with 26 percent of the vote.

U.S. Congress

In the 10th District Republican primary, incumbent Rep. Patrick McHenry soundly defeated challenger Richard Lynch, winning 78 percent of the vote. McHenry faces a Democratic challenge by Tate MacQueen in the general election. In the 11th District Democratic primary, Tom Hill beat Keith Ruehl, winning 54 percent of the vote. Hill will face incumbent Republican Mark Meadows in the fall.

Clerk of Court

In the most lopsided race of the night, incumbent Clerk of Superior Court Steve Cogburn defeated challenger Cary Stone by a margin of 84 percent to 16 percent in the Democratic primary. He faces no GOP opposition in the fall.

Stay tuned to the Xpress Politics & Election page  for more coverage. Hayley Benton and Jesse Farthing contributed to this report.

Note: All election results are via the N.C. Board of Elections website  and are unofficial until certified by the board.


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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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