Though both commissioner candidates running for re-election in Swain County have safely landed a spot in November’s election, a newcomer earned the top spot in Tuesday’s primary.
With only four commissioner seats up for election, all four Republican candidates automatically advanced to the November election. Democratic voters had to choose four out of nine commissioner candidates running in the crowded primary.
Democrat Robert White received the most votes in that race, with about 15 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Commissioners Steve Moon and David Monteith both received about 14 percent of the vote.
“I was a little surprised, let’s be frank about it,” said White, on election night. “This is my first venture in politics, and I really didn’t know what to expect.”
As a retired superintendent, White emphasized his experience in Swain County’s school system during the race, emphasizing that he’d spent countless hours creating a balanced budget and creating a strategic plan for the Swain’s schools.
If elected as commissioner, White promised to create an ad hoc committee of citizens to look at Swain County’s needs in the long-term.
Donnie Dixon, the fourth Democrat to move forward to the November race, received about 12 percent of votes cast in the Democratic ballot.
Dixon, a tool and dye maker and machinist, focused on bringing high-paying jobs to the county, creating a more open government with televised meetings and also focusing on setting long-term goals.
With Swain County’s reserve funds dipping dangerously low in the last budget cycle, Dixon vowed to bring financial stability to the county if elected. He served as commissioner in the 1990s when a similar budget crisis occurred and was able to help rectify the situation.
Monteith said he would be more than happy to work with all four Democrats primary winners should they win the November election.
“That, to me, would be a great bunch of people to work with,” said Monteith. “If this is the pick of the people, I would love to have this to work with.”
Monteith said if elected, his top priority is to develop an assisted living senior center in Swain County, which would not only help the elderly community but would bring jobs to the area.
Swain County commissioner
Democrat – top four advance
Robert White: 929
Steve Moon (Incb.): 877
David Monteith (Incb.): 856
Donnie Dixon: 741
Gerald (Jerry) McKinney: 629
Billy R. Woodard: 612
Tommy Woodard: 611
Judy Miller: 427
Janice Inabinett: 328
Raymond Nelson: 136
*There are also four Republicans and one Libertarian running for commissioner, all of whom automatically advance to the fall primary.
Swain County chairman
Republican – one winner advances
Mike Clampitt: 435
William (Bill) Lewis: 220
*The winner will face Democrat Phil Carson in November.