UPDATED: Miranda DeBruhl vacates seat, exits election

Commissioner Miranda DeBruhl announced she is vacating her seat on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and will also drop her bid for Chair in November's general election. Photo courtesy of DeBruhl

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is losing one of its members, as Commissioner Miranda DeBruhl will vacate her seat. She intends to end her bid as the Republican candidate for Chair of the Board as well. In an email sent on the evening of Monday, May 16, Commissioner DeBruhl said, “It is with a heavy heart, but yet a feeling of optimism that I announce that I will no longer be a candidate for Chair of the Buncombe County Commission.”

She goes on to note the reason is connected to a business opportunity that is not located in North Carolina. “I firmly believe that elected officials should reside in the same jurisdiction as their constituents.  This important opportunity is likely to require me to spend a significant amount of time outside Buncombe County and North Carolina.  As a result, I also intend to respectfully resign my current seat representing District Three.”

District Three covers western Buncombe County including Leicester and Enka. Commissioner DeBruhl says she understands some people will be disappointed but counters saying, “I hope they also understand that I strongly believe political service should be temporary.  I believe our founding fathers designed our system of government to encourage citizen representation and to discourage professional politicians.”

She ends the email stating, “From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank each and every person who has voted for me and supported me over the past three elections. May God bless the people of Buncombe County.”

An email, sent from Commissioner DeBruhl, on the evening of Monday, May 17, outlines why she is vacating her seat and dropping out of the election for Chair.
An email, sent from Commissioner DeBruhl, on the evening of Monday, May 16, outlines why she is vacating her seat and dropping out of the election for Chair.

Xpress’ requests for interviews have not been returned by Commissioner DeBruhl.

Nathan West, chairman of the Buncombe County GOP, says the announcement was a surprise to him, but says he appreciates Commissioner DeBruhl’s time and service. He also says it’s his understanding the decision is effective immediately.

Meanwhile, Chad Nesbitt says he’s “Totally stunned.” Nesbitt is the runner up in March’s Republican primary for Chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “If you’ve got a business deal that you know you’re going to be moving out of state, then you would have known that two months ago. I don’t understand why she ran if she thought she might be moving. So, I’m disappointed in her, to be honest with you. It’s a lack of responsibility on her part for doing this. We’re talking about thousands of people’s lives that she represented and to just back out two months after the primary is just crazy.”

However, West says he believes this was not known ahead of time, “It happened really quickly. It was something that happened within the past couple of weeks. You know, sometimes opportunities just present themselves. It’s not something she has been planning for any lengthy amount of time.”

In regard to naming a replacement West says they have about 30 days to do so. He says, “There’s a plethora of possibilities and people willing to take up that conservative cause.” West says the process involves calling a special meeting where District Three precinct chairs will elect someone to be officially appointed by David Gantt, Chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. When asked if there is concern about Gantt, a Democrat, not appointing their nominee he says, “It is unheard of that they don’t take our recommendation.”

As for who Nesbitt thinks should take Commissioner DeBruhl’s current seat, he says, “Me. Because we’re in a pickle right now and we’re without a voice for our district. You’re going to have to find someone extremely strong and aggressive to combat what’s getting ready to happen here with higher taxes, the HB2 concerns and things like that.”

He goes on to say he would also welcome the chance to be the Republican candidate for Chair in the general election stating, “Absolutely. I would take it in a heartbeat if I could run against Brownie Newman.”

West acknowledges Nesbitt has expressed interest in being nominated to represent District Three, but says, “It’s all fairly new. We don’t have a specific name yet.” A ten day notice will have to be given before the District Three precinct officers can hold their special election.

As for Commissioner Newman, the Democrat candidate for Chair, he says the news of Commissioner DeBruhl vacating her seat and exiting the election surprised him and was “Totally out of the blue.”

He’s not sure if, or how, it might affect his campaign saying, “At the end of the day I’m just focused on getting my message out about what I want to do as Chair in terms of providing effective leadership for Buncombe County on issues that people care about. In that way it won’t change anything.”

In regard to having a new board member, he says, “My hope would be that it’s a person who has a desire to work well with other members of the commission, even if we don’t agree on every issue. Hopefully people can work together to find common ground on some issues and where we don’t agree, can disagree respectfully and work together in a way that people want us to.”

However, Commissioner Newman says he’s not sure who will emerge to fill the District Three seat and potentially run against him in November. “I don’t have any thoughts on who might be interested in serving. It’s just too early to tell… We will see how the process unfolds for the Republicans to find someone else to be appointed now that the current commissioner has decided to quit.”

West says in regard to November’s election, the party is not sure exactly what state law says about replacing DeBruhl on the ballot. “The North Carolina GOP law council is reviewing everything and once we have an answer we will put out a statement,” he says.

UPDATED: Trena Parker, director of the Buncombe County Board of Elections, says Republicans have 75 days before November’s election to name a new candidate to be featured on the ballot for Chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

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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 dhesse@mountainx.com.

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16 thoughts on “UPDATED: Miranda DeBruhl vacates seat, exits election

  1. joie fivecents

    Will she pay back all the people who donated to her election campaign?

  2. Carp

    What a joke. Miranda pulls up stakes, using the DeBruhl family fortune to finance her escape, but only after poisoning the well for earnest Buncombe County job-seekers in order to propagate her right-wing ideology. Good riddance.

  3. DreadT

    Quitter. I heard Deschuttes Brewery pays well for a PR specialist

  4. bsummers

    LOL There’s gotta be some way we can blame Brownie or Gordon for this, lulz.

    • The Real World

      Hey – you’re hijacking that other guys schtick. LOL.

  5. bsummers

    In regard to naming a replacement West says they have about 30 days to do so.

    Nes-bitt!! Nes-bitt!! Nes-bitt!!

    • The Real World

      I don’t know Nesbitt but that quote of his above indicates alot!

      What I get is: a presumptuous loose cannon lacking the decency to take the woman at her word. He sounds like a junior highschooler. If credible info surfaces that the situation is other than she describes then, by all means, go to town on her. But without evidence otherwise, he should be smart enough to keep it zipped. Except not.

  6. Yep

    HUGE loss for the citizens of Buncombe County…she double crossed us all … that was the only race I planned to vote on. Looks like no voting for me this year…NO choices except unqualified criminals.

  7. luther blissett

    Well, the dollar store Palin did a dollar store Palin.

  8. Jason

    Business opportunity; ha ha!! Drill! baby drill!!
    She’s smart to avoid eminent political demise…. The backlash is too much for her….

  9. joie

    Really, will she pay back all the people who donated to her election campaign?

  10. Tom Williams

    Oh the irony! Chad Nesbitt is disappointed in her for not going the distance and quitting early. This is from a man who can not even finish painting his own house. He was sitting at Fatz Restaurant last Sunday night gloating over Miranda’s decision and plotting on how he could he could now “win” the election that he soundly lost. He should have gone next door to Lowes and got some paint and brushes to finish painting his house. It would be nice to have someone who doesn’t quit a job before it is completed.

  11. James

    Why so much hate? Mrs. DeBruhl is showing transparency and integrity by doing this. She’s now in a business situation where she won’t be in the area much and in order to be an effective elected official, you have to be on the ground, in the community. What a contrast to a certain presidential candidate with a shrill, nagging voice who, after her husband’s presidency, ran for Senate in a safe state (New York) where she did not reside and had had no ties to that state within her entire adult life. That particular Senator, now presidential candidate, used the state of New York for her presidential aspirations, and that’s the definition of a politician without integrity – cares only about themself and not their constituents. Thank you Miranda for serving Buncombe County, I wish you all the best going forward.

    • luther blissett

      “in order to be an effective elected official, you have to be on the ground, in the community”

      What’s that, Lassie? Public service may require some personal sacrifices? Surely not!

      What a ridiculous, hateful hack you are. Remind us when El Trumpador was last “on the ground, in the community.”

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