Haire, Caprenter are familiar foes

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

In some elections an incumbent candidate may face a political newcomer, like the congressional race between Rep. Charles Taylor, R-Brevard, and Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville.


In some elections a freshman senator may face a groomed politico — Sen. John Snow, D-Murphy, versus Ken McKim, R-Highlands.

In others a freshman senator may face his ousted predecessor — Rep. Keith Presnell, R-Burnsville, versus Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville.

And in other elections a four-term incumbent may face a once fellow representative turned two-time political foe — Rep. Phil Haire, D-Sylva, versus Marge Carpenter, R-Waynesville.

The two candidates have a history.

For nearly 30 years Liston Ramsey, D-Madison County, and Rep. Charles Beall, D-Clyde, represented what was once known as the 52nd District. When Ramsey stepped down, Haire capture one of the district’s two seats in 1998. The following election in 2000, Carpenter took the district’s other seat.

However, redistricting in 2001 put Carpenter in a new district and in the 2002 election she lost to Rep. Ray Rapp, D-Mars Hill.

“All it was was a political ploy,” Carpenter said of the redistricting, which put her residence in the new district that included part of Haywood along with Madison and Yancey counties.

Carpenter moved from Maggie Valley to Waynesville, putting her once again in Haire’s district. The two ran against each other in 2004 and Haire won, bringing in a total of 14,181 votes to Carpenter’s 12,707. In that election Haire won Jackson and Swain counties while Carpenter took Haywood and Macon counties.

All the redistricting has made the 119th District a hodgepodge. The district covers all of Jackson, Swain and parts of Haywood and Macon. Haire says that although only voters in certain precincts will get to cast ballots in the race, representation is done in full.

“When you get to represent an area you get to represent the whole area,” he said.

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