In local contests for North Carolina General Assembly seats yesterday, Fairview resident and retired anesthesiologist Frank Moretz defeated Asheville High and A-B Tech instructor Bob Chilmonik in the Republican primary for N.C. House District 115.
“I am looking forward to campaigning for improving the health and education systems of the citizens of North Carolina and for bringing more and better paying jobs to the area,” says Moretz, who garnered nearly 60 percent of the votes in his district. “Residents of Buncombe County are not interested in rhetoric, they want action, and I am up to the challenge.”
Moretz thanked Chilmonik for running an “ethical and issue oriented campaign” and giving Republican primary voters a choice. He will now square off against Democratic incumbent John Ager in the November General Election. “I look forward to meeting more of the residents and hearing their concerns,” Moretz says of the months ahead. “I do not have all of the answers, but by working together, I feel that there is little that cannot be accomplished.”
In the Republican primary race for N.C. Senate District 48, businessman and Flat Rock resident Chuck Edwards won the nomination with 56 percent of the vote, defeating Fletcher residents Lisa Baldwin and Dennis Justice. “I am humbled and honored by the confidence that WNC placed in me through casting their ballots,” says Edwards. “I’d like to thank all those who worked tirelessly on our Campaign, as we reset and prepare for November.”
Edwards moves on to face Pisgah Forest Democrat Norman Bossert in the November election for a chance to take over for longtime General Assembly fixture Tom Apodaca, who is stepping down after 12 years of service. “Our campaign has received an outpouring of support, I believe, because we are all tired of politics as usual,” Edwards says of the ramifications of his win. “We recognize what a candidate with solid conservative values and practical business experience can take to Raleigh.”
Other local results
Lieutenant Governor hopeful and Buncombe County commissioner Holly Jones ran a strong campaign, receiving over 70 percent of the vote in Buncombe, but ultimately couldn’t beat Linda Coleman in the statewide primary. “You know, that is a tough one,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer of Jones’ defeat. “I was really hoping Holly would be able to prevail in the primary. And I know she worked really hard.”
Given the short amount of time Jones had to run her campaign, Manheimer added that “I think she did incredibly well. It’s not unusual for a state race to take more than one try so I know she’ll be back.” Jones received almost 29 percent of the statewide vote, making her Coleman’s strongest competition.
Buncombe County’s wide approval of the bipartisan Connect NC Public Improvement Bond — with over 71 percent of voters supporting the ballot measure — was much more in line with statewide results, where the bond was approved by just shy of two thirds of voters. The 2 billion dollar public improvement bond will provide funding to improve infrastructure on university and community college campuses across the state, as well as upgrades to state park facilities, water and sewer projects, agriculture programs and the National Guard. Two of the largest beneficiaries of money from the bond in Buncombe County will be UNC Asheville and A-B Tech.
“I am very pleased and proud of the voters in both parties who realized that investing in our future is more important than party politics,” A-B Tech President Dennis King said in a statement today. “Our 58 community colleges are an important part of North Carolina’s education system and, with this money to make much-needed capital improvements, the future is very bright.”
Similarly, newly installed UNC-A Chancellor Mary K. Grant expressed gratitude for the opportunities for improvement the money will bring: “Yesterday, the citizens of North Carolina went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Connect NC bond referendum,” Grant said. “This important initiative will provide $980 million in funding for much needed infrastructure across the UNC system, including $21.1 million for the repair and renovation of Owen and Carmichael Halls here at UNC Asheville.”
Grant thanked those who campaigned and voted in favor of the bond, adding that “this investment in our state will be felt far into the future, helping UNC Asheville and the UNC system continue in our mission of educating the next generation of leaders, innovators and thinkers. The citizens of North Carolina have made a generous and wise choice.”