Highlands election results: Taylor wins mayoral race; Patterson and Pierson win commissioner seats

Highlands voters cast their ballots on Nov. 2 and mayoral incumbent Pat Taylor won a decisive victory against challenger Marc Hehn. Taylor won with 343 votes compared to Hehn’s 145 votes, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

The two seats open in the commissioners race were won by incumbent Amy Patterson and Eric Pierson. Voters were allowed to choose two candidates and Patterson won another term with 261 votes and Pierson with 238 votes.

The seats were open because Patterson had reached the end of her term and the other seat was Commissioner John Dotson’s, who did not run for reelection.

Other candidates in the commissioner race include Thomas Craig (139 votes), Pat Allen (128 votes), Mary Alice Bynum (91 votes), and Nicolaus McCall (40 votes). There were two write-ins in the mayoral race, and one in the commissioners race.

Of the 998 registered voters in Highlands, 188 voted on Election Day and 296 during early voting for a total of 490, said Melanie Thibault, Director, Macon County Board of Elections. Thibault said the election in Highlands was much busier than previous years and was pleased with the turnout.

188 people cast their vote at the Highlands Civic Center on Nov. 2.

Thibault added that the election results are not official until after canvass, which happens 10 days after an election. Canvass is conducting an official tally of votes and ensuring each valid vote is counted. Highlands election results will be official at 11 a.m. on Nov. 12.

Taylor said it feels great winning the mayoral election, but more than that, he said he has gratitude and confidence in the people of Highlands. 

“I want to thank all my supporters, volunteers, and those 180 people who donated to my campaign,” said Taylor. “They all rejected negative politics in favor of a positive, forward-looking vision for Highlands. We have so many opportunities to embrace in the coming years.” 

After the election results were posted online, Hehn congratulated Taylor on his win and wished him a good term.

“Betsy and I wish him a highly successful and stress free third term,” said Hehn.

The mayoral election has no official impact on Hehn’s position as a commissioner and he will maintain his seat on the town board.

Taylor said the immediate challenge for the town is to address the short-term rental issue.

“We will move as fast as possible in that review,” he said. “The next big opportunity is to complete and approve the Highlands Community Plan.”

Taylor said the long term-challenge is to balance economic progress with the preservation of this wonderful community. Throughout all the challenges Highlands faces, he said he wants to maintain transparency.

“I want to continue to keep an open door to the mayor’s office,” said Taylor. “Also, I disagree with those who charge my administration has not been transparent. I will work to increase the transparency of all of our staff and all elected officials.”

Pierson said it felt good winning a commissioner seat, especially after he campaigned for a spot on the board two years ago and lost by 3 votes.

“I had a lot going on two years ago and, regrettably, did not actively campaign, which resulted in my loss by 3 votes,” said Pierson. “However, my interest in doing all I can for this community has not changed. I ran again because I feel I can still be a positive influence for the town and its future. I have never come into this with any set agenda. I am simply here to deal with current issues facing the town.”

He added that he couldn’t do this alone and was thankful for all the support he received througuout the campaign.

“I would like to say thank you to all those who worked to move my campaign forward,” said Pierson. “They know who they are and I’m grateful for their work and effort. Also, I would like to thank those who voted, whether they cast their vote for me or not, it does not matter so long as they cast a vote.”

Incumbent Commissioner Patterson was re-elected for another term but could not be reached for comment in time of publication.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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