Incumbents get another term on Macon commission
Despite challengers’ loud cries for change in Macon County leadership, voters have given incumbents Ronnie Beale (Democrat) and Gary Shields (Republican) another four-year term on the board of commissioners.
Shields was the top vote-getter with 38 percent of the votes and will serve a second term on the commission. As a popular former educator and high school principal in Macon County, Shields has been heavily involved in making sure the public school system gets the funding it needs for education and capital needs.
“I’m a little overwhelmed, but I’m very humbled by it,” Shields said Tuesday night. “Anytime they vote for you it shows they have faith in you so I never want to break that bond with voters and I will work hard to work for the taxpayers in Macon County to be a good steward of the taxpayer’s money.”
Beale received 25 percent of the vote and will serve his fourth term on the board. During his tenure, he has been a vocal advocate for more mental health and addiction resources for Western North Carolina through his involvement with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.
“I feel very fortunate that Macon County voters have chosen me to serve as their commissioner for another four years. I’ll continue to do like I always have — to work hard for them every day,” Beale said. “It was a close race — when you run as a Democrat in a solid Republican county, I have to thank a lot of my Republican friends for their support.”
Republican challenger Ron Haven, who served one term on the board from 2010-14, was not far behind Beale with 23.6 percent of the vote.
Democratic challenger Betty Cloer Wallace received about 13 percent of the vote.
Current Commission Chairman Jim Tate (Republican) will also get another four-year term after defeating his Republican opponent John Shearl in the Primary Election. He was unopposed in the general election.
Voter turnout in Macon County for the midterms was nearly 59 percent, which is up from the 2014 midterms when only 47 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.
Board of Commissioners
Gary Shields 10,108 38
Ronnie Beale 6,569 25
Ron Haven 6,182 24
Betty Cloer Wallace 3,348 13
Jim Tate (unopposed) 11,649 100