Incumbents were vulnerable in all five of the races in which they were challenged, with Democrats ousting Republicans in the city governments of Hendersonville and Saluda (which also lies partially in Polk County). Henderson County turnout was 18.4%, with 4,766 of 25,897 eligible voters casting their ballots.
“As law enforcement, our mission is to protect the public and to seek to provide justice to victims of crime. Sheriff Miller’s current policy serves neither [purpose],” said Andrew Murray, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, after Miller refused to honor an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request. “It also breeds mistrust among law enforcement agencies and puts in danger the very communities it purports to protect.”
Xpress reached out to candidates across the two counties to understand their motivations for participating in the municipal elections. Many of the topics the hopeful elected officials raised — diversity, transportation planning and preservation of small-town character — may give WNC politicos a sneak peak at what will be important to area voters in 2020.
A three-judge panel issued an injunction late Monday blocking use of the current North Carolina congressional district map in the 2020 election. Although not yet compelling the “coequal branch of government” to draw new maps, judges noted that legislators could proceed to do that on their own and thus avoid any disruption to the election schedule.
As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted with futurist Rebecca Ryan about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.
Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents Henderson, Transylvania and eastern Buncombe counties in N.C. Senate District 48, said he remained firm in his desire to see the city of Asheville take a different approach to electing its council members. “I get constant feedback from constituents in Asheville that they can’t get City Council folks to pick up the phone, let alone to listen to a specific concern that they might have in their neighborhood,” he said.
Asheville City Council members clashed over whether a state-imposed district election system would negatively impact black voters during Sept. 24 meeting.
As currently drawn, the proposed districts would shift representation for large areas of Buncombe County. A 2011 state law also required that districts for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners match those of the county’s House representatives. As currently drawn, the maps would move Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara from District 1 to District 2, shift Al Whitesides from District 1 to District 3 and reassign Amanda Edwards from District 2 to District 1.
The money contained in a stalled budget bill that passed the General Assembly would go to Montreat College, a school in eastern Buncombe County with an enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students. $20 million would be used to establish a center to train people to protect digital information and systems.
The 10th Congressional District representative’s constituents challenged him on issues including climate policy, Israel-U.S. relations and the behavior of President Donald Trump at his annual Buncombe County town hall on July 31 at the Riceville Community Center.
On Friday, Sept. 6, said Council member Julie Mayfield, the city will hold an affordable housing work session to explore options such as tiny homes and housing voucher acceptance for long-term rentals. Mayfield also announced that Council plans to discuss whether the city should temporarily ban new hotels in the city during its Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Republican members of the board argued that their Democratic colleagues were out of place in issuing official letters against pending state HB 370, which would require Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller and other sheriffs throughout North Carolina to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests on penalty of removal from office.
The four Democratic board members — Chair Brownie Newman, Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Commissioners Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides — have all signed letters asking state officials to withhold their support from the proposal. In February, Democratic Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller announced that his office would no longer honor ICE detainers.
After much anticipation, Asheville City Attorney Brad Branham presents the city’s legal options — and limitations — of addressing state-imposed district elections to Council during a July 2 work session.
Both WNC congressmen, Reps. Patrick McHenry and Mark Meadows, represent districts that are staunchly Republican. But most of the money they used to run their campaigns and boost GOP candidates in more competitive races came from outside of North Carolina.
“We used to talk about presidents and members of Congress having permanent campaigns, meaning they never really stop campaigning, and I think the same thing has now trickled down to the state level,” says Chris Cooper, head of Western Carolina University’s Political Science and Public Affairs Department.
Asheville City Council is making moves on state-imposed districts for municipal elections.