By David Rogers. May 8, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — One “interim” incumbent beat the odds, but a few other newbies registered surprising wins in Tuesday’s primary elections where the public chooses each political party’s final representative in November’s election for various state and local offices.
After Republican Deanna Ballard was chosen to fill the North Carolina Senate District 45 seat vacated mid-term by Dan Soucek in 2016, by all accounts she did a credible job. And yet, when the Republican-majority of the North Carolina General Assembly fashioned a final redistricting plan to take effect with the 2018 election, they didn’t do Ballard any favors by re-drawing District 45 to include Watauga, Ashe, Allegheny, parts of Surry, and all of the more populous Wilkes County — where another Republican NC Senator held office: Shirley Blackburn Randleman.
As a result of redrawing the senate districts, the two incumbent Republicans, Ballard and Randleman, had to face each other in Tuesday’s primary to earn the right to run as the Republican candidate for the District 45 seat in November. At a Blowing Rock campaign stop hosted at Chetola Mountain Resort in mid-April, Ballard acknowledged to Blowing Rock News that she faced an uphill battle since Randleman was a multi-term incumbent from an area with a larger population.
In the 5-county district, Ballard carried her home county of Watauga, as well as Ashe and Allegheny counties, while Randleman, as expected, was the winner in Wilkes and Surry counties. When all the results were in from the 84 total precincts, however, Ballard emerged the winner, 8,354 to 7,238.
One observer noted to Blowing Rock News, “Deanna won by a very large margin in Ashe, Allegheny and Watauga, and she polled pretty well in Wilkes, at least partly because of her association with Samaritan’s Purse and that organization’s large presence in Wilkes County. Both candidates have excellent reputations, so it is a shame one of them had to lose and it is ironic that it was their very own party that redrew lines in a way that one of them would be pushed out.”
North Carolina Senate District 45 — Republican Primary
|Ballard||% of Vote||Randleman||% of Vote|
Two other hotly contested Republican races saw newcomers to the political arena gain victories.
For Watauga County Board of Commissioners District 5, the Republican primary race pitted two well-known businessmen against one another. Tommy Sofield picked up 1,792 votes (61.08%), while former Commissioner Allen Trivette got 1,142 (38.92%) of the votes cast.
An interesting race for the Republican nomination for Watauga County Sheriff pitted Blowing Rock resident and retiring NC State Trooper David Searcy against WCSO deputy Tim Holman. Searcy won by a landslide, 2,534 (86.93%) vs. Holman’s 381 (13.07%) and will now face Democratic incumbent Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman in November. Hagaman did not face a primary opponent.
In other races, Jonathan Jordan tallied 78.52% of the Republican vote for the NC House of Representatives seat in District 93, vs. challenger Robert Block. The incumbent, Jordan will now face Democratic challenger Ray Russell (Ray’s Weather, computer science professor at Appalachian State) in November. Russell was not opposed in the Democratic primary.
Collecting 15, 428 votes (54.43%), DD Adams prevailed over Jenny Marshall for the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Virginia Foxx for the U.S. House of Representatives District 5 seat. Foxx attracted 32,518 votes (80.82%) to win the Republican nomination over Dillon Gentry and Cortland J. Meador, Jr.
In the final ballot item, voters defeated a one-quarter cent sales tax increase, 55.00% to 45.00%.