Van Duyn wins race to fill Nesbitt’s senate seat

Photos by Alicia Funderburk

In a special April 3 election, Buncombe County Democratic leaders picked community activist Terry Van Duyn to serve as the area’s new North Carolina senator.

Van Duyn will complete the unexpired term of Sen. Martin Nesbitt, who died in March after representing District 49 in the General Assembly since 2003. Van Duyn faces her first general election challenge in November.

Held in downtown Asheville at the Buncombe County courthouse, 149 Democratic leaders voted in the April 3 special election, including precinct chairs and vice chairs as well as elected officials who reside in District 49. It took three rounds of voting for Van Duyn to win the 51 percent of votes needed to claim the seat. Five other political activists campaigned for the position: Veronika Gunter, Michelle Pace Wood, Charlie Owen, Keith Young and Aixa Wilson.

By the final round of voting, Van Duyn and Gunter were the only candidates left in the running. Van Duyn received 93 votes and Gunter received 53.

A retired Systems Analyst, Van Duyn has served on the boards of a long list of organizations, including Carolina Day School, Meals on Wheels, Autism Society of North Carolina and the Children’s Welfare League. She’s been active in the Moral Monday movement and most recently worked as a volunteer healthcare navigator.

Xpress will have more on this story in the April 9 print edition. UPDATE: Read the full April 9 report here.


Slide show of photos from the special election by Alicia Funderburk


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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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