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Edwards tops Beach-Ferrara to win Cawthorne’s seat
Saturday, 26 November 2022 14:38

From Staff Reports

Hendersonville’s three-term Republican state Sen. Chuck Edwards captured 53.8 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic challenge Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who garned 44.5 percent of the vote, to succeed U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn as 11th district representative in the Nov. 8 midterm election.

Voter turnout was higher than in the 2018 midterm election.

Beach-Ferrara, who bills herself as a “Christian minister, organizer, mother of three (and) proud gay woman.” is a member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Finishing third for the seat was small business-owner David Coatney, a Libertarian, who netted only 1.7 percent of the votes.

In the primary, of the eight Republicans in the field, Edwards beat Cawthorn by just 1.57 percent, or 1,384 votes, out of more than 88,000 cast. 

“Like Cawthorn, Edwards won every county in the district except Buncombe. Mark Meadows was the last Republican to win Buncombe, which he did in 2016 by about 1,000 votes,” the (Waynesville) Smoky Mountain News reported after the election.

“Also like Cawthorn and Meadows, Edwards does not have a college degree and got his start making sandwiches. Edwards went on to become the owner of several McDonald’s franchises across Western North Carolina, and in 2020 took a $1.1 million PPP loan that he never paid back while also carving out a $50,000 tax break for himself while in the General Assembly,” the SMN said of Edwards.

Following is a brief recap of some of the many races — and two bond referendums on the ballot in Asheville — decided in the Nov. 8 election, and affecting Western North Carolina:

• Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd topped Democratic challenger Cheri Beasley, 51-47 percent, to win the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Senator Richard Burr.

• Democratic incumbent state Sen. Julie Mayfield beat Republican challenger John Anderson in the District 49 race to retain her seat. The district covers Asheville and the rest of western Buncombe County. Mayfield tallied 65.53 percent of the vote.

• Despite a stiff challenge from sitting Councilwoman Kim Roney, incumbent Esther Manheimer won her third term, giving her four more years as Asheville’s mayor.

Manheimer finished with 53.48 percent of the vote versus Roney’s 45.47 percent.

Manheimer, a land litigation attorney, was elected to Asheville City Council in 2009, and elected mayor in 2013 and again in 2017. 

• Winning the three open Asheville City Council seats were incumbent Vice Mayor Sheneika Smith, incumbent Councilwoman Antanette Mosley and newcomer Maggie Ullman Berthiaume. (Councilwoman Gwen Wisler chose to not run again, so Berthiaume will take her seat.)

• Buncombe County turned all-blue with the victory of Democrat challenger Martin Moore, 34, a lawyer and chairman of the county’s Board of Adjustments, over incumbent Robert Pressley, with 54.96 percent of the vote to 45.04 percent, for the District 2 seat on the Buncombe Board of Commissioners.

“I’m honored and privileged,” Moore told the Citizen Times. “Candidly, it’s been a great ride. And I’m so glad that people are responsive to the policy changes that we’re hoping to bring to Buncombe County.” 

 Also winning in the Buncombe commissioners’ races were Democratic incumbents Amanda Edwards, who won 25,165 votes to 14,724 votes for GOP challenger Don Yelton; and Al Whitesides, who topped Republican challenger Anthony Penland (27,595 votes to 13,828 votes).

• Incumbent Quentin Miller won another term as Buncombe County Sheriff. Miller, 59, won more than 60 percent of the vote en route to a victory over Republican Trey McDonald (who finishd 36.57 percent of the votes) and Libertarian Tracey DeBruhl (3.03 percent).

Miller told reporters after the election that he would continue to focus on improvement in the jail system and building relationships with the community.

“I want to thank them for their vote of confidence,” he said to those who voted to re-elect him. “We’re going to continue to do what we started in moving our organization to 21st century policing. We want to continue with our medication assisted treatment program. We want to continue to move forward with not only enhancing but moving our organization to the next level. I think that’s how we build relationships within our community. This vote tonight is the community saying they want us to be more engaged with them. And we’re saying that we want to be more engaged with our community.”

• GOP state Rep., Tim Moffitt, who represents a portion of Henderson County, won the North Carolina Senate District 48 race against Democrat challenger Jay Carey, according to unofficial results.

Moffitt netted 64.95 percent of votes to Carey’s 35.05 percent, among the three counties he represents, with all precincts reporting.

• Buncombe voters passed a proposition in the Nov. 8 election to borrow $70 million in bonds to pay for affordable housing, land conservation and greenways in the coming decades.

“Throughout this campaign, I’ve heard people across my home county and those of you in this room talking about affordability and livability, and those are the issues that I’m going to continue to address as your Buncombe County Commissioner,” Edwards said in her address once the races were called.

The conservation bond for $30 million unofficially won with 68.73 percent of the votes in favor to 31.27 percent against and the $40 million bond for affordable housing won 61.78 percent to 38.22 percent.

According to a study done late 2021, the bonds were expected to pass and could cost taxpayers about $34 a year for 18 years.



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