Blowing Rock candidates win decisively
by Jeff Eason
After a political season that seemed to get more personal than those in Blowing Rock's past, voters had their say on who will take the reins of the village for the foreseeable future.
Incumbent mayor J.B. Lawrence held onto the office in a landslide, defeating challenger Dan Phillips by nearly a three-to-one margin, with an unofficial vote tally of 452 to 160.
Lawrence will serve a new two-year term beginning in December.
In the race for three open town council seats, unofficial results have one incumbent, Doug Matheson, retaining his seat, while two newcomers, Sue Sweeting and Ray Pickett, join Matheson on the council.
The three candidates who failed to get enough votes for a seat on the council included incumbent Tommy Klutz and newcomers Laurin Carter and David Barker.
The unofficial vote totals for the town council race were 425 for Doug Matheson, 410 for Sue Sweeting, 279 for Ray Pickett, 222 for Tommy Klutz, 180 for Laurin Carter and 145 for David Barker.
Klutz was the only candidate who failed to appear at a public candidates forum hosted by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce in October.
With the results, Matheson, Sweeting and Pickett earn four-year terms.
The results were announced at Blowing Rock Town Hall at approximately 7:50 p.m. on Tuesday. The votes will not become official until 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
According to Blowing Rock precinct chairwoman Pat Fountain, 501 votes were cast at the precinct on election day, 108 voters cast their ballots during the early voting period, and 119 absentee ballots were cast during the 2013 election.
Both the mayor's race and the town council race were somewhat contentious with some candidates mailing fliers attacking their opponents.
The Watauga County Republican Party attacked Sweeting in the nonpartisan town council race with a postcard sent to Blowing Rock residents that accused her of bringing a "Boone Agenda" to Blowing Rock.
"I am truly humbled that the citizens of Blowing Rock have shown the confidence in me to elect me for another term," said Mayor Lawrence. "I am committed to working with the new commissioners for the betterment of Blowing Rock. I think there is a lot we can accomplish in the near future. I am truly grateful to the citizens of Blowing Rock for coming out and voting for me and I am determined to work hard to earn their continued support."
Added councilman-elect Pickett, "I am glad it is over and I am proud for this opportunity to serve Blowing Rock. It is an honor and a privilege to work to make Blowing Rock the best possible place to live."
Councilwoman-elect Sweeting said, "This election was about Blowing Rock.
"It was not about politics or political parties. I'm excited and proud and ready to work hard to do what's best for Blowing Rock."