Mid-term Election Wrap-up
Carl Mumpower, Chair – One of the biggest mistakes in politics is to treat the adventure like football. Who won? Nothing in life that’s important is ever that simple or easy, and politics – the effort to determine who governs us – is most assuredly not an exception.
Part of the reason we think within a win-lose box is that it is hard to see through all the fog, numbers, deceptions, and misinformation that surrounds politics. Don’t worry – your Buncombe Republican leadership team is here to help.
First, may we suggest there is lots to celebrate?
For starters, thanks to literally hundreds of engaged volunteers, we kept the Republican percentages high enough in Buncombe that the left was not able to undo Congressmen Meadows and McHenry or State Senator Edwards.
Pelosi, Inc. did not add one of our House seats to her stable in part because Buncombe County is uniquely comprised of two Congressional Districts – 10 and 11 – that impairs the left’s ability to dominate the outcome. And although Congressmen McHenry and Meadows did not carry Buncombe, they took their districts with 59% of the votes.
NC Senate District 48 Republican Candidate, Chuck Edward’s race encompasses Henderson and Transylvania Counties and 13 South Buncombe precincts. Within his District in Buncombe there are 11,828 registered Democrats and 11,404 registered Republicans and 14,350 registered UNA’s. While coming in 47% to 53% against his challenger in Buncombe, Senator Edwards won his District 56% to 44%. His strong numbers in Buncombe helped secure a representative who has worked very hard as a conservative voice for that part of his constituency.
Marilyn Brown and Amy Evans, as first-time General Assembly candidates, also have much to celebrate. Both were only 3-7 percentage points below the Republican incumbents who lost their seats in 2014.
Our NC House 116 candidate Marilyn had significant support from the NCGOP, former Congressman Charles Taylor and others which opened the door for a creative campaign against incumbent two-termer Democrat Brian Turner. Mr. Turner outspent Mrs. Brown $250,000 to $100,000, but in spite of Mr. Turner’s money, experience and name recognition, Marilyn garnered over 45% of the votes. Congratulations on running an honest campaign Marilyn. Are we correct that your opponent failed to reciprocate that honesty?
As near as we can tell NC House 115 candidate Amy Evans had a war chest of $6,000 – including $3,000 of in-kind donations, individual contributions and $1,000 from the Buncombe County Republican Women’s club. She also ran against a well-heeled two-term Democrat incumbent – John Ager – who raised $160,000 – curiously including $5,200 from the Cherokee Tribal Council. Amy still pulled 16,858 votes for 42% of the total.
With that kind of funding and those kinds of numbers, both of these first-time candidates have lots to celebrate – so do the people who worked to help them.
Former NC General Assembly member Mark Crawford knew out of the gate that his was a near impossible-to-win race for the NC Senate District 49 seat against his opponent – Democrat incumbent Terry VanDyn. We are always grateful for Mark’s willingness to throw his hat into a very liberal ring and thus prevent the opposition from funneling their campaign funds into other races.
Mark’s race outcome mimicked the Democrat verses Republican voter registration in that district which encompasses North Buncombe, East Buncombe, West Buncombe and most of Asheville. There are 62,808 registered Democrats and 34,415 registered Republicans in NC Senate District 49. Mark secured over 32,000 votes with a 34% showing. Thank you for stepping up in such a strong way Mark.
The next big race was for Sheriff. There are a lot of people disappointed that Shad Higgins “lost” this race – no one more than Shad. Why did that happen? As best we can determine, our sheriff’s candidate’s Achilles heel was probably his limited law enforcement experience. Many of our poll workers reported hearing things like, “Would you rather vote for a man with experience or one who has never been in law enforcement?” In the end, they obviously did not know our Shad; nor, the darker background of his opponent and thus went with that question. Time will tell who really “won” this one.
When Shad stops unnecessarily kicking himself, we encourage him to look at the numbers. This Buncombe County Sheriff’s Race mimicked the Buncombe results between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016. President Trump and Shad Higgins both lost by over 20,000 votes – mostly because they struggled to sway unaffiliated voters. You’re in good company Shad.
We regret that Buncombe’s corruption tainted county government was not secured by a 4th Republican Commissioner seat for Glenda Weinert – and thus for us. As a first-time candidate, Glenda made a good show. Her biggest support came from North Buncombe with precinct percentages mostly 60% or better in her favor. The one exception was the Weaverville Town Hall where she lost by only 1/2% point. Still, not enough to carry the rest of her District.
It’s important to know that since 2012, Commissioner District 2 has been shifting to the left. Commissioner Fryar won his District 2 seat in 2012 and was reelected in 2016. In both cases, the difference in winning and losing was no more than several hundred votes. District 2 encompasses North Buncombe, Black Mountain and Fairview and is an increasingly tough arena for a conservative candidate. Glenda was awesome, had great qualifications and she should be applauded for her courage and conviction in stepping forward.
Congratulations are due to incumbent Republican District 3 Commissioner, Robert Pressley, who was reelected to his seat. He secured approximately 51% of the votes – suggesting he also garnered Democrat and/or UNA votes. There were 670 votes between he and his opponent. Robert’s District encompasses the semi-circle of Leicester, Hominy Valley and South Buncombe where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 700 voters. We’re glad that come January Robert will still be at the Buncombe governance table.
Speaking of numbers, if you are curious, the most recent figures we could access come from July. Here is the breakdown in Buncombe County: Democrats – 74,957, Republicans – 46,004, and Unaffiliated – 72,402. Looking at those numbers helps explain why Buncombe County is such a tough, but exceedingly important political pivot point in our region and why county-wide races are so difficult for our candidates.
Though Buncombe County as a whole voted against all six of NC’s Constitutional ballots, four passed across the state. Republicans helped by knowing what they were voting for and supporting the state-wide vote. To the extent that all of this initiative was intended to support liberties, constrain the spending frivolity of our opposition or restrain power interests, four out of six is a great victory. Most importantly – we now have a voter ID requirement in our State Constitution.
One of the biggest disappointments to all of us was the outcome of the state-level judicial races – and most especially that of Chief Justice Barbara Jackson. In case you missed that outcome, it tracks to the last-minute candidacy of a fake and Democratically funded Republican who successfully pulled votes from Ms. Jackson. Anyone who knows that losing Ms. Jackson is a great loss for all North Carolina citizens.
If you were a part of the Buncombe County Republican Party volunteer pool, please celebrate our very broad and targeted effort to support our Republican candidates in their election bids. We put roughly 18,000 sample conservative ballots into the hands of early and election day voters supplemented with a gazillion digital media postings, emails and phone calls. We had four billboards supporting our candidates and the amendments – along with banners, ads in various newspapers, radio spots on three stations, an active HQ, thorough early-voting coverage and committed election day coverage for 60 of the most important polls among the 80 in our county.
We don’t have the data on election day, but early voting coverage was especially important this year. Thanks to the majority of our leaders and volunteers who stepped up and made sure that most of the time in most of the places, we had a volunteer working the polls. Republican early voting in Buncombe County was up 29% over 2014.
A celebratory shout out is due to the Angry Buncombe Taxpayer group for their nothing short of spectacular effort to bring voter attention to the truth of county government corruption under Democratic dominance. The time, energy, money and creativity invested by these folks merits much appreciation by all conservative minded people. May we be candid? No individual or group in Buncombe’s history has ever developed a more creative and relentless effort to politically educate the voters on a problem, the facts and a solution.
We would be amiss if we did not bring a note of concern to your attention. During the campaign several of our Republican candidates mentioned that once in office they didn’t plan to necessarily operate as Republicans. That matters because we feel our party’s special platform and principles are what being a Republican is all about and a reason that other Republicans work so hard for our candidates.
But there’s another reason that running as a Republican should suggest one serve as a Republican. To quote someone else, our opposition treats their platform and principles “as a religion.” If we are to counter their excesses in both platform and principles (read them to better understand just how scary the liberal-progressive Democrat movement really is), do we not need to hold to our own platform and principles (read them to better understand just how grounded in normalcy and reality the conservative Republican movement really is) with at least matching enthusiasm?
We hear a lot about diversity – but when it comes to having conservative diversity of thought at the table of governance, too many are tempted with a fun to the safety of middle-ground. Under most circumstances that’s less about statesmanship than a wish to be liked.
We continue to encourage our Republican elected officials to function as Republicans. As the only political movement capable of defeating the excesses of our opposition, that dedication is crucial. President Trump’s success with a model of promise followed by sincere action offers further example. Republicans like to vote for candidates then know stand for something they can count on.
We close by reminding Buncombe Republicans that ours is a ‘David vs. Goliath’ reality. The liberal-progressive-socialist movement – as manifested in today’s Democrat Party – outnumbers us dramatically and has more money, media support and momentum. This year, building on the support of our predecessors, we made sure they knew they were in a fight and that Buncombe County’s 46,000 Republicans are alive and well in spite of their relentless attacks on our community’s traditional values and standards of normalcy.
We are not done – and that is one last thing to celebrate!
Special Note – special thanks is due to our BCGOP Secretary Linda Humphries for gathering data and in general doing what she always does – help us get to get to good and ever better places…