Federal election results are still coming in but local winners are clear

Nearly 75 percent of voters in North Carolina cast their ballots in the 2020 election — a year where record numbers of voter turnout is being reported across the country. 

As of Wednesday morning, less than 100,000 votes separated President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden from claiming victory in North Carolina, a state Trump definitively won in 2016. 

Macon County was above the state voter turnout, with 76.39 percent of the county’s 27,162 registered casting their ballots. That leaves just around 7,000 voters in the county who did not vote this election, surpassing the previous county turnout record of 68 percent by nearly 10 percent. 

The number of voters participating in the 2020 election is expected to rise slightly over the next week or so, as mail-in ballots post marked by Tuesday, November 2, will be counted toward election totals. Those mail-in ballots will be crucial in determining close races and might even be the deciding factor in which Presidential candidate wins the Electoral College votes for the state. 

Despite uncertainty on the National level, races closer to home were wholly decided, with no room to question the winner. 

Kevin Corbin, who decided to run for the Senate after two terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives, beat out Democratic challenger Victoria Fox with 73,467 votes to 36,759. 

“My campaign is very appreciative to have all seven counties,” said Corbin. “I am very excited to be able to serve in the North Carolina Senate and continue representing Western North Carolina. 

Karl Gillespie, who left his seat on the Macon County Board of Commissioners to run for North Carolina’s District 120 seat on the House of Representatives secured his seat with a comfortable 34,745 votes to Democrat challenger Susan Landis’ 12,098. 

Macon County Republican Josh Young secured his seat on the board of commissioners with 14,709 votes to Democratic challenger Betty Cloer Wallace’s 5,339. 

The Franklin area seat of the Board of Education featured three candidates, with incumbent Jim Breedlove comfortably winning re-election for what he says will be his last term. 

“I am deeply appreciative and very humbled by the level of support shown to me by the many voters in our community,” said Breedlove. “I will stand by my ongoing pledge and promise to always be guided by the principle of making decisions that are in the best interest of the students. I value and welcome your comments and suggestions both now and in the future as we move forward together in strengthening education in Macon County.”

Both the Highlands and Nantahala seats on the board of education were also up for election. With no challenger, incumbent Melissa Evans was re-elected for Nantahala and newcomer Hillary Wilkes won for Highlands, replacing Stephanie McCall, who did not seek re-election. 

By Brittney Lofthouse

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