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Mau to challenge Queen in 2020

Ron Mau Ron Mau

Jackson County Commissioner Ron Mau hopes to unseat Rep. Joe Sam Queen in the 2020 election, announcing before a gathering at the Jackson County Republican Party headquarters Nov. 18 that he will run on the Republican ticket for District 119 of the N.C. House of Representatives. 

“Having served at the municipal and county levels, I understand the unique needs of our mountain communities,” he said. “I am excited to represent you in Raleigh and ensure WNC remains a great place to live and work.”

Before he can face Waynesville Democrat Queen, Mau must first win a primary contest against Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt, who held the seat from 2016 to 2018 and has already announced his intention to run again. The 2020 election will be the fifth time in a row that Clampitt and Queen both ran for the seat. 

“For 10 years, we’ve had the choice of two people,” said Mau. “It’s time for a new choice and new ideas in District 119.”

Queen and Clampitt both have significant name recognition throughout Western North Carolina, due both to their longtime presence on the ballot and to family roots in the region going back centuries. 

“Name recognition is a big issue in any campaign,” Mau said. “We will work hard to improve my name recognition, particularly in Swain and Haywood County.”

Mau has served as a Jackson County Commissioner since 2016 and sat on the Village of Forest Hills Town Council before that. In 2018 he sought the chairman’s seat on the county commission but lost to incumbent Brian McMahan. Mau sits on the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority as well as the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority Board. 

He and his wife, Rochelle, a retired math teacher at Fairview Elementary and Smoky Mountain High School, live in Cullowhee with their dog.  Their two adult children, Ronnie and Rusty, are both graduates of Smoky Mountain High.

Because his term on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners ends in 2020, Mau’s announcement means that there will be at least one new face on the commission next year. The seat currently held by Commissioner Mickey Luker will also be up for election that year. Luker’s continued absence from county meetings in recent months has led to calls for his resignation from both Republican and Democratic voters.

Filing for 2020 races does not officially begin until Dec. 2. Mau said that he is not currently endorsing anybody to fill his vacated seat next year. 

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