The election was a rematch from two years ago, when Snow was the sitting senator and faced Davis as a challenger. The race that year was tight, with Davis winning by less than 200 votes — a margin of less than 1 percent.
But this time Davis won handily, a victory no doubt due in part to the Republican trickledown effect among Western North Carolina voters casting ballots for Mitt Romney in the presidential race.
Davis was part of a Republican tide that took control of the state legislature in Raleigh two years ago for the first time in over a century. When condemned for budget cuts over the past two years, Davis continually leveled with voters in an open, honest and frank fashion he has become known for.
“It just took leadership. If it was easy it would have been done already,” Davis said. “We felt it was important to get our fiscal house in order. We had to make tough decisions and had to live with those.”
Davis said while he is conservative, he is not a partisan. Davis is looking forward to not only retaining the Republican majority in the General Assembly, but also picking up Republican control in the Governor’s mansion and eliminating the threat of a veto.
“Now with a Republican governor, we don’t have to worry about that. We have two years to really work hard to change the state,” Davis said.
Snow served in the state Senate for six years himself before being unseated in 2010. And before that Snow served as a judge for more than 25 years in Western North Carolina, which continued to hold sway with some voters even though he retired from the bench a decade ago.
“I respected him as a judge. He is a good person,” said Chuck Way, a retired police officer in Waynesville.
Likewise, Kristi Wheatley, a 47-year-old voter from near Dillsboro, said her fondness for Snow began after seeing him on the bench, and she drew from that experience when deciding whether to vote for him of Davis.
“John Snow is a very fair and respectable man,” Wheatley said. “I see him as having a kind heart and being a kind spirit.”
Davis’ bigger margin was also due to his name recognition this go around.
“Last time people didn’t know me other than in Macon County so I had a lot of work to do,” said Davis, an orthodontist in Franklin.
Snow may have done better with women voters, including Jan Pressley of Maggie Valley came to the polls sporting a button that read “It’s a man’s world … unless women vote.”
“He is anti-woman to me. He has hurt education,” Pressley said.
But other voters believed Republicans have been better for education.
“My wife works in the school system and Snow did a lot of bad things for teachers,” said Rick Wood, 52, of Sylva. “I want Davis to make a change.”