AVERY COUNTY — Republicans cinched every partisan county seat in strong voter turnout in this year's midterm election.
Republicans also took every state and national race in the county with ease. Historically, the county has leaned heavily in favor of the GOP, and this year's result reflected a similar scenario to previous contests.
The Avery County Board of Commissioners had three of five seats up for grabs, though two of those were inevitably Republican seats. This year's election also featured Democratic challenger Dick Crews, but ultimately Blake Vance, Woodie Young and Dennis Aldridge, the three Republicans who prevailed in the Republican Primary election earlier this year, again received the top three vote totals. Vance and Young were incumbent board members, whereas Dennis Aldridge is a new face. Crews drew 11.11 percent of the total vote in the race.
"I appreciate the opportunity people have given me. This election really is about Avery County," Aldridge said at the Commissioners' Boardroom in Newland, where results were broadcast on a large-screen monitor. "The trust and confidence people have placed in me I think is a real boon to me, and it's an honor to be chosen in any capacity in this county."
Sheriff Kevin Frye, District Attorney Seth Banks and Clerk of Superior Court Lisa Daniels all ran unopposed. Frye defeated fellow Republican sheriff candidate Jason Lolies in this year's primary to run unopposed during the general election. Daniels enjoyed the highest ballot total of the local races with 5,533 votes.
Frye said the Sheriff's Office wants to continue being servants while expanding anti-drug programs in the schools, making school safety paramount, addressing the drug problem in the county and protecting property rights.
The quarter-cent local sales tax increase on the ballot, which was prominently touted by the Avery Board of Commissioners as a way to raise additional revenue from tourism dollars spent in the county, was defeated handily, with 64.7 percent of votes aligning against the measure.
Incumbent State Rep. Josh Dobson and incumbent State Sen. Warren Daniel both won their respective races by sizable margins. Dobson defeated first-time Democratic challenger Howard Larsen in NC House District 85, and Daniel defeated Art Sherwood in NC Senate District 46. Due to redistricting, Daniel is a new representative for the area, as Sherwood previously had vied for office when he competed against Deanna Ballard in District 45 in November 2016.
"I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to represent Avery County in the state house," Dobson said.
Sherwood expressed his disappointment in the result of his race but expressed his thanks to the people he met during his campaign whom he now considers friends.
Longtime Republican U.S. Congresswoman Rep. Virginia Foxx defeated Democratic Challenger D.D. Adams in the county and the district.
LOCAL ELECTION UNOFFICIAL RESULTS:
Commissioners (three seats):
- Dennis Aldridge: 4,505
- Blake Vance: 4,354
- Woodie Young: 4,323
- Dick Crews: 1,647
Clerk of Superior Court:
- Lisa Daniels: 5,533
- Kevin Frye: 4,831
Avery Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor (two seats):
- Bill Beuttell: 3,988
- Ann Coleman: 3,429
- Write-In: 113
Quarter-Cent Local Sales Tax Increase:
- For: 3,970
- Against: 2,166
All the data and results referenced in this story are unofficial with canvassing pending. This story will be updated with additional analysis as more final results for state and national races come in.