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November election lineup complete

election timeBallots have been finalized in Haywood County for November’s General Election, and while a number of national and state campaigns have thus far overshadowed local races, that won’t last much longer.

North Carolina State Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, represents most of Western North Carolina in the General Assembly and will serve for a fourth term if he can get past Jane Hipps, a Haywood County Democrat and nurse practitioner he defeated in 2014. 

State Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, will face frequent opponent and retired fire chief Mike Clampitt, a Swain County Republican who also ran against Queen in 2012 and 2014. Queen’s district includes all of Jackson and Swain and counties, but only a sliver of Haywood County that centers on Waynesville.

The balance of Haywood County is represented by Burnsville Republican Rep. Michele Presnell, who’ll face a strong test from Democrat Rhonda Schandevel, a current Haywood County School Board member who decided earlier this year to give up her seat to challenge Presnell. 

A number of Haywood County School Board seats are also up for re-election, including Schandevel’s. 

In Haywood County, non-partisan school board members must reside in a particular district, but are voted in by voters countywide.

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Schandevel resides in the Beaverdam district, as does board member Walter Leatherwood, who is also not seeking re-election. Vying for those two seats are Richard Lance, Ronnie Clark and Scott Smith, all of Canton. 

Lynn Milner’s Waynesville district seat is also up for re-election, as is the seat of Jim Francis. Milner’s not seeking re-election, but Francis is; competing with him for one of those two seats are Ann Barrett, Rebecca Benhart, Pam Martin and Kay Miller, all of Waynesville. 

Chuck Francis has been chair of the Haywood County School Board for 12 years; he hopes to extend that streak by besting Craig Messer of Canton. 

Haywood County Board Chairman Mark Swanger’s 14-year tenure will come to an end this fall, meaning his seat is open, as is that of 12-year board veteran Kevin Ensley. 

Two Republicans, Ensley and Canton businessman Brandon Rogers, as well as two Democrats, Steve Brown and Robin Greene Black, will compete for those two seats; the new chair of the county board will be chosen after the election by the board itself from among its members.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8; for more information on voting, visit

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