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Cochran wins a third term

Three candidates were aiming for the top prize in Swain’s sheriff race. The contest pitted the status quo against the notion of change, as well as featuring the third candidate wildcard.


In the end, voters decided to keep sitting Sheriff Curtis Cochran in his post. Again.

Cochran held a commanding lead over his Democratic challenger, Chuck McMahan. And both candidates maintained a comfortable lead over unaffiliated candidate Odel Chastain, who secured his place on the ballot by collecting 412 signed petitions.

The incumbent won his reelection with 57.21 percent of the vote. McMahan followed well behind with 39.40 percent of the vote, while Chastain walked away with just over 3 percent. 

Cochran could not be reached for comment following the election results.

McMahan, retired after a 27-year career with the North Carolina Highway Patrol,  seemed to be taking his loss in stride. 

“I respect the outcome. I respect the will of the people,” the candidate said once results were in. “I wish Sheriff Cochran success in the future. I’ve called him and told him that.”

During his campaign, McMahan rallied voters for a change. He argued that the sheriff was disconnected from the populace, whom he said he could better serve.

Following his loss, the Democratic challenger declined to consider how the election outcome reflected on his message of change.

“I’m not gonna read anything into it tonight,” McMahan said.

Sheriff Cochran won his third term with this victory. He won his first term in 2006, following a 22-year career in underground construction, and won reelection in 2010. 

“I like being the people’s sheriff of Swain County,” Cochran said in September.



Swain County Sheriff

Curtis Cochran* (R)2,551 

Chuck McMahan (D)1,757

Odel Chastain (I)151

*denotes incumbent

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