WNC Sheriff Primary Election Results: Buncombe's Miller gets easy win, Graham County GOP race goes to runoff
Six counties in the westernmost part of North Carolina will elect new sheriffs this year thanks to a wave of retirements in the region. Tuesday's primary election began to whittle the fields down in those races, though one county will need a runoff and another a possible recount.
Graham County sheriff Jerry Crisp is one of the incumbent sheriffs running this year in the region. He won Tuesday's GOP primary by just four votes (414-410) over Russell Moody. The crowded field of seven candidates on the Republican side in North Carolina's third least populous county prevented Crisp and Moody from reaching the 30% of the vote threshold needed to avoid a runoff, so they will face each other later this summer. No Democrat is running for sheriff in Graham County.
In Macon County Republican primary, Brent Holbrooks defeated Dereck Jones by just 54 votes, or .74% (32.31% to 31.57%). Any race decided less than a percentage point can head to a recount if requested. With no Democrats running, the GOP primary is the de facto election to replace Robert Holland, who's retiring after 20 years.
Buncombe County sheriff Quentin Miller isn't retiring. He's running for a second term this year, and won Tuesday's Democratic primary with 86% of the vote over David Hurley. Miller faces Republican Jeff Worley in the fall.
In neighboring Haywood County, Greg Christopher is leaving office after more than four decades in law enforcement. Republican Bill Wilke and Democrat Larry Bryson won their parties' respective primaries to replace him.
In Jackson County, Democrat Rick Buchanan will face Republican Doug Farmer to replace the retiring Chip Hall.
In Transylvania County, Chuck Owenby edged Chase Owen to win the GOP nomination to replace David Mahoney.
Cherokee County Sheriff Derrick Palmer isn't seeking reelection, and Dustin Smith won the GOP nomination to replace him. In Clay County Mark Buchanan won the GOP nomination to replace retiring Bobby Deese.