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Smoky Mountain Young Republicans seek members

Last week’s GOP congressional forum wasn’t hosted by the state party, some national media outlet or even a local county party — it was the work of a talented group of young people operating as the Smoky Mountain Young Republicans. 

“We were just going to have a small town hall and it kind of grew into what it is now,” said Elias McKim, chairman of the SMYR. 

Reagan Bunch — named after America’s 40th president — is a Clay County native and SMYR vice chair who attends UNC-Wilmington. Bunch moderated the debate, presenting questions developed by the SMYR as well as those sourced from the audience. 

“I think this was a really good starting place to build a foundation on where they stand,” she said. 

The group’s secretary, Michael Lyons, said that he’s been involved since 2012 and that the SMYR currently counts about 30 or 40 members in a geographical jurisdiction that includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham and Macon counties. The SMYR plans to host at least one more primary or runoff forum, and is currently seeking to fill several leadership positions. 

For more information, to get involved, or to make a donation supporting the Smoky Mountain Young Republicans, visit

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