Madison Cawthorn at Point Lookout Vineyards watch party on June 23

Cawthorn takes Republican nomination for NC-11 seat

Henderson County real estate investor Madison Cawthorn took nearly 66% of the vote in a June 23 second primary against Madison County real estate agent Lynda Bennett, thereby securing the nomination to run in November’s general election. His 30,444 votes in the second primary exceeded the total ballots cast in the 2012 runoff between former Rep. Mark Meadows and Vance Patterson by over 7,400.

Mark Meadows portrait

From AVL Watchdog: The race for the GOP nomination in the 11th Congressio­nal district could embarrass Trump

As the race for the GOP nomination heads to the June 23 climax, Bennett appears by many indicators to be locked in a desperate race against 24-year-old political neophyte Madison Cawthorn of Hendersonville. A victory by Cawthorn, a political unknown until weeks ago, will be seen as a humiliating defeat for Bennett, a longtime GOP functionary.

White Duck Taco Shop

From AVL Watchdog: $5M TDA relief bill for small businesses helps hotels too

Coronavirus relief is just the latest topic in an ongoing debate over whether the Tourism Development Authority, with its mission to bring ever more overnight guests to Buncombe County, is good for county residents — or just good for the hotel industry that has controlled it since its inception nearly four decades ago.

Buncombe County seal

Buncombe to receive $4.5M in state COVID-19 aid

County government only plans to keep about $3 million of the state allocation; the remainder would be distributed to Buncombe’s municipalities and fire districts using the same formula as for county sales tax. Asheville would receive roughly $944,000, or 21% of the money, with the Skyland Fire District receiving the next largest award of nearly $67,000, or 1.5%.

Weaverville downtown

News roundup: $5M in tourism relief passes GA, Pack Library launches senior outreach

The legislative change allows the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to use $5 million from its Tourism Product Development Fund — which previously had to be allocated to nonprofit entities or local government and spent on capital projects — for grants of up to $50,000 in support of tourism businesses other than lodging.

Mission Hospital campus

Mission Health to resume elective services within 10 days

Cancer therapies, joint replacements and other elective procedures that had been postponed due to the initial COVID-19 response will be the first to return. Since North Carolina’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced on March 3, the Mission system has treated just over 20 inpatients for the disease.

Robert Pressley at April 16 Board of Commissioners meeting

Buncombe board split on direction for next phase of COVID-19 response

The commission’s Democratic members passed direction for expanded community testing and contact tracing over the objections of its Republican contingent. Joe Belcher, Anthony Penland and Robert Pressley stressed their commitment to ensuring the county’s safety but expressed concern over the process by which the resolution was introduced and some of its terms.

Stay Home tower in River Arts District

Buncombe’s COVID-19 rules stricter than state order

“Buncombe County is going to take actions that best safeguard the public health for Buncombe County residents,” said Fletcher Tove, the county’s emergency preparedness coordinator. He confirmed that the county’s more stringent rules would remain in place through at least the morning of Thursday, April 9.