2017 Election Results - Kapoor, Smith, Wisler AVL Council Winners: 3/4 Of Voters Say No To Districts
Incumbent Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer breezed to an easy re-election, while Vijay Kapoor, Sheneika Smith, and incumbent Gwen Wisler won city council seats. Meanwhile, three-quarters of those who voted in Asheville said no to creating city council districts, even though a state law passed earlier this year by the Republican-dominated General Assembly mandated the Democratically-controlled city do so for the 2019 election.
Manheimer faced sparse competition from her opponent Martin Ramsey, who did very few if any campaign and media events ahead of the election. Manheimer received almost 81% of the vote in the race. Kapoor was the top vote getter in the city council race. The South Asheville resident did well in all parts of the city, and his win gives that part of Asheville a representative on the council. "We ran this candidacy as being for the entire city", Kapoor said at his victory party at Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack in South Asheville.
Smith is also a newcomer to elected office. She works at Green Opportunities and helped create Date My City, a 'social organization' that seeks to enhance the cultural identities of black communities in Western North Carolina. Wisler is the only of the three incumbents on city council that will return. Cecil Bothwell was defeated in last month's primary, while Gordon Smith chose not to run for another term.
75% of voters said no to creating city council districts in Asheville via a referendum that was prompted by the General Assembly's push to create them. The strong electoral response against districts could prompt legal action by the city to block them, something Kapoor said he wanted to explore once taking office.
In other races in Buncombe County, Don Collins was elected mayor of Black Mountain, defeating incumbent Michael Sobol. Ryan Stone and Jeremie Konegni were elected to Black Mountain's board of alderman. Al Root was elected mayor of Weaverville, with Doug Jackson and Dottie Sherill winning seats on the town council. The closest race of the night was for Montreat commissioner, as Kent Otto won by only 12 votes.
Sobol was far from the only incumbent mayor who lost Tuesday. Mills River mayor Larry Freeman fell less than 100 votes short of victory against challenger Brian Caskey. Meanwhile in the town of Andrews, incumbent mayor Nancy Curtis suffered one of the worst defeats of the night. She garnered only 24% of the vote against winner James Reid. In an open race, Republican Rick Ramsey easily defeated Democrat Curtis Brown to become mayor of Murphy. In Sylva, incumbent Lynda Sossamon was easily re-elected mayor over former town commissioner Danny Allen.
A seat on the town board of Franklin in Macon County is up in the air, after voters elected a candidate who died last week. Six people vied for three open seats on the board this year including incumbents Barbara McRae and Billy Mashburn. McRae will retain her spot, after receiving the most votes of any candidate, followed by newcomer David Culpeper. Mashburn came in third to keep his seat, even though he passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. Since the deceased candidate won, the board gets to appoint someone to his seat. That does not mean they have to choose any of the remaining three candidates. The next board meeting will be held on December 5.