By David Rogers. November 5, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — With well over a third of the votes cast, Planning Board chairman and local architect David Harwood convincingly won a seat on the Blowing Rock Board of Commissioners. The second seat went to incumbent Albert Yount, both tabulations according to the unofficial results posted on the North Carolina Board of Elections website. Mayor Charlie Sellers was running unopposed and re-elected for a second term.
COVER IMAGE: The bag containing Blowing Rock’s ballots for the November 5th election, brought to the Watauga County Courthouse for certification. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS FOR TOWN COMMISSIONER (voting for two)
|Candidate||Watauga County||% of Watauga votes||Caldwell County||% of Caldwell votes||Total||% of Total Votes|
|Total Votes Cast||814||100.0%||39||100%||853||100%|
Although campaigning among the four candidates for the two open seats was relatively vigorous in the days and weeks leading up to the election, voter turnout was relatively light, estimated by Blowing Rock News at approximately 32.9%. Out of 1,257 registered Watauga County voters in the Blowing Rock precinct, 413 voted in the mayoral race, where incumbent Charlie Sellers was running unopposed. Sellers received 400 votes, while there were 13 write-in votes (not identified by the Election Board). At this writing, we did not have access to the number of registered voters in Caldwell County living in Blowing Rock.
In the Caldwell County precinct covering Blowing Rock, Sellers received 21 votes, with no write-ins. Based on the number of ballots cast for the mayoral race, where voters only selected one candidate, combining the Caldwell and Watauga numbers suggests that there were roughly 434 voters casting ballots. Since voters could vote for two commissioner candidates, if we divide the total number of votes cast (853) by two, or 426 and subtract that number from the estimated number of votes cast in the single candidate mayoral race (434), we estimate that there were eight “bullet shot” (AKA “single shot”) votes cast in the commissioner race. Given the outcome, we speculate that all or the majority of the single shot votes were for Harwood or Yount.
While there were two clear winners in the Blowing Rock race for Commissioner, the election for Boone Town Council is likely to be in doubt until sometime next week.
With all 8 precincts having reported, less than 30 votes separated the four candidates for three open seats. Former Mayor of Boone Loretta Clawson picked up 821 (25.02%); Dustin Hicks 810 (24.69%); Virginia Roseman 800 (24.38%); and Nancy LaPlaca 794 (24.20%). Thtere were 56 write-in votes (not identified). What complicates this race is there are reportedly more than 80 “provisional” votes (the voters’ eligibility has not yet been certified), so those may very well be the key to who gets elected.
In Seven Devils, where there are three open seats, the unofficial winners are Larry Fontaine, Kay Ehlinger, and Wayne Bonomo. Fourth place finisher Jeff Williams is only six votes behind Bonomo and the number of provisional voters still outstanding is unknown as of this writing.
Beech Mountain also has three open seats up for election and the winners appear to be Jimmie Accardi, Kelly Melang, and Erin Gonyea, although only eight votes separate Gonyea and Renee Castiglione.