By JOSEPH MARTIN
ONE FEATHER STAFF
BRYSON CITY – Despite a challenge from write-in candidate Mitchell Jenkins, Democrat Ben Bushyhead prevailed to become the Chairman of the Swain County Board of Commissioners. Bushyhead had already been a commissioner in the county and touted an enhancement of the relationship between the county and the tribe. Bushyhead won overwhelmingly by a vote of 3,250 – 818, which didn’t specifically name Jenkins.
In the May primary Bushyhead defeated incumbent Democrat Chairman Phil Carson by a vote of 818 – 560 in a race with a 18.33 percent turnout.
Bushyhead said of his general election victory that the citizens wanted a change that had already started. With 80 percent of the vote going in his favor, he said, “I think we’re walking in with a clear mandate.” He said among his goals is to be accessible. His phone number will be published, and people can call him, meet with him and share ideas. “It’s to return the power of the government back to the people.”
Bushyhead won overwhelmingly in Swain County’s Whittier/Cherokee precinct, where most of the Qualla Boundary Swain County residents vote. He got 1,001 votes to 41 write-ins.