Like the election results from across the country, results from across the state show a mixed bag, with some Republican gains but also some important setbacks. The same goes for Western North Carolina, where the political landscape will change, but not by much.
An expected “blue wave” prophesized by Democrats didn’t exactly materialize on Nov. 6, and Haywood County Republican Party Chair Ken Henson thinks he knows why. “I do think people are tired of wanting to go towards socialism. They don’t want no part of socialism,” said Henson. “I think the Democrat Party has gone towards socialism. People are fed up with it.”
Haywood Republicans, along with the rest of the western part of the state saw many of their candidates perform well, including Congressman Mark Meadows, who handily defeated his closest of two opponents by more than 20 percentage points. Republicans also flipped the Haywood Commission from a 3-2 Dem majority to a 4-1 advantage with the elections of Republicans Mark Pless and Tommy Long, speaking here at the Haywood GOP headquarters. “I’m glad Haywood County has put their confidence in me, and I want to say thank you,” Long said.
Burnsville Republican Rep. Michele Presnell easily earned a fourth term in the General Assembly, but it wasn’t a complete success for Western North Carolina Republicans. Haywood’s beleaguered Republican tax collector got the boot, Meadows will now become a minority member of the U.S. House, and the election of Waynesville Democrat Joe Sam Queen played a crucial role in breaking the Republican supermajority in the North Carolina General Assembly. “Well,” Queen said, “we can stop the stupid stuff.”
Breaking that supermajority effectively gives Gov. Roy Cooper his veto power back, which would have a dramatic effect in the Republican-controlled legislature.