The after-action report: 50 fast facts from the Haywood election results
Another layer of tint has been added to Haywood County’s changing political canvas.
Election Day results paint a picture of a red county growing redder. From Donald Trump to Brandon Rogers, Republicans were the big winners in Haywood County on Nov. 8, splashing broad strokes of red over what was once blue while also deepening rosy hues that have been so for decades.
That fact is but one of a trove of insights gleaned from the Haywood County precinct-level election results published by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Listed below are 49 more takeaways that also bring this ever-changing portrait into focus.
Around 3,000 more Republican voters than were to be expected materialized in Haywood County on Nov. 8; although Republican Donald Trump didn’t really need them to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton — he won by more than 8,000 votes — many down-ballot Republican candidates appear to have benefitted from the tidal wave of support.
1. Republican Presidential votes in Haywood County have increased 26 percent over three elections from 2008 to 2016, and have increased in every election.
2. Democratic Presidential votes in Haywood County have decreased 18 percent over the same period, and have declined in every election.
3. Haywood County’s population has grown about 6 percent over that same period, but registered voters have grown 11 percent in that time.
4. Trump won 28 of 29 voting precincts in Haywood County.
5. Trump’s top three precincts in terms of votes received were Ivy Hill, Jonathan Creek and Pigeon.
6. Between the three, Trump amassed a 2,200-vote lead over Clinton — accounting for a quarter of his margin of victory in the county.
7. The Ivy Hill precinct saw the most votes cast. Trump beat Clinton 1,524 to 791 there.
8. The Big Creek precinct saw the least votes cast. Trump beat Clinton 12 to 4 there.
9. Clinton’s top two precincts in terms of votes received were Ivy Hill and Jonathan Creek, just like Trump. Her third biggest precinct was South Waynesville 1.
10. She lost all three.
11. The only precinct Clinton won in Haywood County was Center Waynesville, 211 to 180, to Gary Johnson’s 27.
12. Libertarian Presidential votes in Haywood County have increased 282 percent from 2008 to 2016, swelling from 235 in 2008 (Bob Barr/Wayne Allen Root) to 898 in 2016 (Gary Johnson/Bill Weld). However, those votes still represent just 2.94 percent of presidential votes cast in the county.
13. Johnson’s highest percentages were found in Fines Creek 2 and Center Waynesville, where he topped out at 6.35 percent.
14. Voter turnout has been erratic since 2008 — Obama/McCain saw 71.9 percent of registered voters vote, Obama/Romney dipped to 65.8 percent, and Trump/Clinton rose to 69.6 percent.
15. In this contest, 30,574 Haywood County voters cast ballots; Trump garnered about 18,800 of them, Clinton about 10,400.
Gov. Pat McCrory, R-Charlotte, also benefitted from the massive surge in Republican votes in Haywood County, but not as much as Trump did; he has, however, retained every bit of popularity in the county he enjoyed back in 2012. Interestingly, precinct results from this race make a strong case for the existence of the mythical “ticket-splitting” voter.
16. McCrory won Haywood County in 2012 by a margin of about 16,000 to 11,000.
17. In this contest, 30,308 people cast ballots; McCrory earned about 16,500 of them, and Attorney General Roy Cooper, D-Rocky Mount, about 12,800.
18. It’s likely that around 2,000 Haywood County residents who voted for Trump also voted for Cooper.
19. In Haywood County, Cooper won only three of 29 precincts — Lake Junaluska, South Waynesville 1 and South Waynesville 2.
20. Trump also won Lake Junaluska, South Waynesville 1 and South Waynesville 2.
21. Lon Cecil, L-High Point, earned 948 votes, slightly more than Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
N.C. Senate District 50
Short of a scandal, Republican Jim Davis’ R-Franklin, has a solid western base and growing popularity in the east, making him look nearly invincible in N.C. Senate District 50. He easily defeated Democrat Jane Hipps, D-Waynesville, for the second election in a row.
22. Davis has now won his last four N.C. Senate races, each time by increasing margins.
23. Davis’ district consists of seven counties; his strongest performances percentage-wise were in the westernmost: Cherokee, Clay and Graham — where he earned between 70 and 75 percent of the vote.
24. Hipps’ strongest performances percentage-wise were in Jackson, Swain and Haywood counties, where she hovered between 40 and 45 percent of the vote.
25. Had Hipps taken 100 percent of the vote in Jackson County, she still wouldn’t have bested Davis.
26. Hipps won just two precincts in Haywood County — Lake Junaluska and South Waynesville 2, both Trump/Cooper precincts.
27. In 2012, Davis beat Democrat Jon Snow in Haywood County 15,589 to 11,392. In 2016, Davis beat Hipps in Haywood County 17,747 to 12,095.
N.C. House District 118
Geographically, Haywood County makes up just a small portion of N.C. House District 118, which also includes all of Madison County and all of Rep. Michele Presnell’s, R-Burnsville, home county, Yancey. Challenger Rhonda Cole Schandevel, D-Canton, hails from Haywood, but didn’t fare all that well there; the race’s formerly predictable results skewed dramatically to the right in this cycle, perhaps indicating an ideological shift.
29. Only 18 of Haywood’s 29 precincts (and half of Ivy Hill) are in District 118, but 47.7 percent of the race’s votes came from those precincts.
30. Presnell’s best margin and percentage point performance came in Schandevel’s home county of Haywood.
31. Presnell’s worst margin and percentage point performance came from her home county of Yancey.
32. Schandevel won just three Haywood County precincts – Crabtree, Beaverdam 2 and Beaverdam 5/6 — all of which provided her with only 123 more votes than Presnell.
33. Presnell won her first two terms districtwide with 51.3 percent of the vote both times. She defeated Schandevel this time with 55.4 percent of the vote.
34. Presnell’s previous Democratic opponents — Ray Rapp in 2012 and Dean Hicks in 2014 — both earned 48.7 percent of the vote districtwide.
35. Schandevel earned 44.6 percent of the vote districtwide.
N.C. House District 119
The 10 Haywood County precincts (plus the other half of Ivy Hill) not in Rep. Presnell’s district are in the 119th District, as are Jackson and Swain counties. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, saw his opponent Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, pull a 1,400-vote swing from previous elections.
36. In Clampitt’s two previous outings against Queen — in 2012 and 2014 — he earned 48.3 percent and 47.4 percent of the districtwide vote, respectively. In 2016 he improved to 50.4 percent.
37. Queen recorded almost 300 more votes in Haywood County in 2016 than he did during the last presidential election year of 2012.
38. Clampitt recorded almost 600 more votes in Haywood County in 2016 than he did in during the last presidential election year of 2012.
38. Queen lost to Clampitt districtwide by 301 votes.
39. From U.S. President to U.S. Senate to U.S. House on down the ticket through N.C. Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Agriculture Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner, Labor Commissioner, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer, State Senate, State House and the Haywood Commissioners, the only Democrat to win Haywood County was Queen.
40. Queen and McCrory were the only legislative candidates on the ballot to win Haywood County but lose their races.
41. Queen and McCrory were the only incumbents on Haywood County ballots to lose their races.
Haywood County Board of Commissioners
Republican Brandon Rogers’ decisive victory is the poster child for the reddening of Haywood County. He almost collected more votes than the two Democrats — Steve Brown and Robin Black — combined, he outpaced popular Republican incumbent Kevin Ensley by more than a thousand votes and he’ll be replacing retiring Democrat Mark Swanger, bringing the board from a 4-1 to a 3-2 Democratic majority.
42. Rogers’ top three precincts by number of votes received were Pigeon, Ivy Hill and Jonathan Creek — just like Trump.
43. Rogers took 42 percent of the vote in his largest precinct, Pigeon.
44. Ensley bested Rogers in the two larger precincts, Ivy Hill and Jonathan Creek.
45. Brown won only Center Waynesville.
46. Black didn’t win any precincts, but came in second to Brown in Center Waynesville — also the only precinct in which Rogers came in dead last.
47. During 2008, 2012 and 2016 — all presidential election years — there have always been two Democrats and two Republicans seeking just two seats on the board.
48. From 2008 to 2016, Democratic votes declined 29.7 percent.
49. Over that same period, Republican votes increased 46.5 percent.