Eight months after last year's election, Republican Christina Kelley G. Merrill is dropping a lawsuit challenging results that showed her just 18 votes shy of winning a seat on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. The Fairview resident says she'll mount a campaign for a seat on the board next year.
An unofficial tally of results on election night, Nov. 6, 2012, showed Merrill with a lead, but it was erased in subsequent tallies when a number of provisional ballots cast by residents of the left-leaning Warren Wilson College were added. On Nov. 28, the Buncombe County Board of Elections voted 2-1 along party lines to deny Merrill's request to discount the ballots of Warren Wilson residents from the District 2 race, and a subsequent Dec. 7 hand re-count of District 2 ballots showed Ellen Frost with a 18-vote win, giving Democrats a 4-3 majority of the board's seats.
A week later, the bipartisan North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously to dismiss Merrill's charges that local elections officials violated any laws in counting the ballots of Warren Wilson students.
However, even as the election results were subsequently certified and the board has proceeded with carrying out county business, Merrill had said she'd continue fighting the outcome in court — until now.
"In the face of ever increasing county spending, higher property taxes and corporate welfare, I will now focus my efforts on running for County Commissioner in 2014," she wrote in a press release.
Frost, the only incumbent up for reelection in District 2 next year, hasn't announced whether she plans to seek another term.
— Jake Frankel, email@example.com, 251-1333, ext. 115, @JakeFrankel