The only incumbent in the race for Asheville city council lost as three new faces will join the council. Unofficial results from Tuesday's election (as of midnight) show Keith Young finishing first with 18.22% of the vote. Brian Haynes finished a close second with 18.08%. And in third was Julie Mayfield with 17.65%, despite finishing first in the primary. The race was for three seats on the city council, so those three are the winners.
Marc Hunt, the vice-mayor and only incumbent in the race, dropped to fifth behind Rich Lee. Lindsey Simerly came in last place.
The top two finishers Young and Haynes celebrated the results at the Grey Eagle music venue in Asheville. WCQS's Jeremy Loeb was there and spoke to the newly-elected council members. Both ran as outsider candidates and some will be surprised Young finished first after a fourth-place finish in the primary.
Brian Haynes finished second, as he did in the primary. He's new to the political process and also had to overcome distractions about his son and campaign manager Austin Haynes, who was slapped with felony drug charges. In an interview with WCQS in the late days of the campaign, Haynes stood by his son and he told Jeremy Loeb on election night he didn't think it had any impact on the race.
Young and Haynes briefly addressed supporters at the Grey Eagle after the results were more or less conclusive. You can hear their remarks in the audio below.
Mayfield, Hunt, and Simerly watched results come in at the Millroom at Asheville Brewing Company, an event attended by a number of Asheville Democratic party figures, including Mayor Esther Manheimer, state Rep. Brian Turner, and Sen. Terry Van Duyn. Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams was there as well.
WCQS's David Hurand spoke to the candidates at the Millroom. Julie Mayfield was elected, though she slipped to third after coming in first in the primary. The executive director of the environmental group Mountain True told David she was thrilled with winning a seat.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was incumbent vice-mayor Marc Hunt falling to fifth and losing his seat. Hunt told David the results reflect voter frustration with the pace of the city's population growth.
As mentioned above, mayor Esther Manheimer joined candidates at the Millroom for the election night event. David asked her what she thought about the results.
Lindsey Simerly came in 6th and last place among the candidates on the ballot. She, too, spoke with David Hurand about the results.
Rich Lee, who finished fourth, was reportedly watching results at Buffalo Nickel in west Asheville.