Published On: Fri, Nov 9th, 2018

Tribe’s state/national representatives stay same





With mid-term elections completed and votes counted, the tribe’s representation in Washington and Raleigh will remain the same. A new chairman of the Swain County Board of Commissioners, Democrat Ben Bushyhead, a tribal member, was elected, as was a new 119th N.C. House District representative Democrat Joe Sam Queen (D-Haywood). However, sheriffs in Swain and Jackson counties, 11th Congressional District representative, N.C. House 120th District representative and N.C. Senate 50th District remain unchanged.

Turnout for the midterm elections was lighter across the state with a rate of 52.38 percent compared to 68.98 percent in 2016. For Jackson County turnout was 52.37 percent compared to 66.98 percent in 2016. For Swain County turnout was 51.14 percent compared to 58.85 percent in 2016. Graham County’s turnout was 59.02 percent compared to 65.92 percent in 2016. For Cherokee County turnout was 47.13 percent compared to 59.86 percent in 2016.

Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) was easily reelected to serve another term in congress. He defeated Phillip Price (D-N.C.) by a vote of 177,230 – 115,824. Price did win one of the precincts where most Cherokee residents vote. In the Whittier/Cherokee Precinct Price led 631–594. Meadows carried the Qualla Precinct 761–714.

For the N.C. 50th Senate District, incumbent Jim Davis (R-Macon) defeated challenger Bobby Kuppers (D-Macon) 48,195- 31,679. For the Cherokee precincts: Kuppers carried Whittier/Cherokee 655-576, but Davis prevailed in Qualla 765-755.

Kevin Corbin (R-Macon) handily won reelection against Aaron Martin (D-Clay) 25,536- 9,231 for the N.C. House 120th District (Cherokee County and Snowbird communities are in this district), but Queen defeated incumbent Mike Clampitt (R-Swain) 15,537- 14,166. Queen prevailed in both Qualla and Whittier/Cherokee precincts. He took Whittier/Cherokee 745-514 and Qualla 813-709.

Bushyhead won the Democratic nomination in May, and no Republican was challenging him. He had a write-in challenger in Mitchell Jenkins (not named and his votes could have been counted with other write-ins), but Bushyhead prevailed 3,250- 818. Support for Bushyhead was heavy in the Whittier/Cherokee precinct where he won 1,001-41.

Tribal member and Democrat Brad Letts defeated a challenge from fellow Democrat Mark Melrose to hold on to his seat as a Superior Court Judge District 30B (Haywood and Jackson counties). That vote was 16,914-14,017. The vote in Haywood County, where Melrose resides and holds a legal practice, was close with Letts winning 9,556-9,296. In Jackson County, where Letts resides, the vote was 7,358-4,721. The Qualla precinct heavily favored Letts 455-161.

Republican Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran won another term as he defeated Democratic challenger Rocky Sampson, a tribal descendent, 3,354-1,895. The vote, however, was closer in the Whittier/Cherokee precinct with Cochran winning 640-639.

Democrat Chip Hall defeated Republican challenger Doug Farmer 8,850-5,959 to get another term as Jackson County Sheriff. In Qualla, the vote was for Hall 898-600.

Swain County Commissioners candidates who won were: Democrat Danny Burns, Republican Kevin Seagle and Democrat Roger Parsons.

Winning Jackson County Commissioner candidates were Democrats Gayle Woody and Boyce Dietz.

The ballot initiative for a ¼ cent sales and use tax passed in Swain County 2,787-2,337 with Whittier/Cherokee voting in favor 628-590.

Full election results can be obtained online at: