Swain voters approve ¼ cent sales tax
By 9:15 p.m., Swain County Board of Elections Chairman John Herrin was reading the unofficial results for the November 6, 2018 election that had a huge turnout. There was a total of 5,340 ballots cast in the county, comprising 51.14 of the total voters.
It was the second attempt for the Swain County Board of Commissioners in putting a referendum before voters to raise the local sales and use tax by .25 of a cent, an effort that failed two years ago.
Second time was a charm! Swain County voted 2,787 for and 2,337 against— passing the measure with nearly 55 percent of the vote.
In the most heated race of the county, incumbent Curtis Cochran was re-elected with a comfortable lead capturing 2,354 votes to challenger Rocky Sampson, who got 1,895 votes.
For Chairman of Swain County Board of Commissioners, Ben Bushyhead won overwhelmingly with 3,250 votes. Write-in candidate Mitchell Jenkins captured 818 votes.
For the two seats on county commission for four-year terms, incumbent Danny Burns received the highest number of votes with 2,540, followed by Kevin Seagle with 2,384 votes. Holly Bowick came in just slightly behind Seagle with 2,344 votes followed by John S. Parton who earned 2,064 votes.
Incumbent Roger Parsons will retain his seat on the commission board for the remaining two-year term with 2,893 votes compared to challenger Carolyn Bair at 2,124 votes.
On the Swain County Board of Education there were three candidates competing for two seas. Incumbent Kimberly N. Carpenter drew the most support with 2,798 votes followed by Travis Hyatt with 2,744 votes, winning out over Shirley Q. Grant who earned 2,695 votes.
For Clerk of Court, Misti Watson Jones won her seat (running unopposed) with 3,758 votes. Similarly, Diana Williamson Kirkland won re-election for Register of Deeds (running unopposed) with 3,648 votes.
In state and congressional district races, Swain favored the Republican incumbents.
Swain County supported incumbent Mike Clampitt for NC House District 119, but it was close with 2,834 votes compared to Joe Sam Queen with 2,341 votes.
Swain County also supported incumbent Jim Davis over Bobby Kuppers for NC State Senate District 50, with 2,932 votes going to Davis and 2,133 votes going to Kuppers.
Similarly, more Swain voters supported incumbent Mark Meadows for US District 11th Congress, giving him 3,008 votes compared to 2,051 for challenger Phillip G. Price and 152 votes for Clifton B. Ingram, Jr. with 152 votes.
On Soil and Water, the two candidates William Roy Shuler (3,000) and Avery Taylor (3,002) were elected.
More Swain voters supported four proposed state constitutional amendments on hunting, victims’ rights, changing the maximum income tax rate and requiring photo IDs to vote. They didn’t support the judicial merit commission or bipartisan ethics and election changes.
The results of the district and state races will not be determined until results from all of the precincts are reported to the state.
Canvass Day will be held on Friday, November 16, which is when election results will be final.
See the print edition of Smoky Mountain Times publishing Thursday, November 8 for more details on the local races including quotes.
You can visit the state website to view results at www.ncsbe.gov.