After months of campaigning, a write-in candidate won the Bryson City mayoral election — an interesting twist in a competition that had only one name on the ballot.
Tom Sutton beat out Jeramy Shuler, the only candidate whose name was listed on the ballot, by 22 votes.
“I’m pretty excited,” Sutton said. “It’s been a great day.”
The newly elected mayor woke up at 6:30 this morning and spent all day at the polls shaking hands and talking to voters with his brother, he said.
Sutton said he tried to keep an informal tally throughout the day.
“I knew it would be pretty close,” Sutton said. “I was really lucky that it went that way.”
Sutton ran a write-in campaign after finding out that incumbent Mayor Brad Walker would not be running for re-election. By that time, however, it was too late to register.
His first order of business will be to talk to the town department heads and find out “where I can help,” Sutton said.
Sutton spent 24 years in the Navy, worked as a school resource officer for the sheriff’s office and is now a parole officer. He listed road repairs, streetscape improvements and continuing to upgrade the town’s water system as projects he would like to focus on.
Voter turnout was actually better than the norm for a town election. Of the town’s 1,040 voters, 210 came out to the polls for a turnout of 20 percent.
Shuler refused to comment after the results were tallied but said “there may be some discrepancy.”
The only other Bryson City candidates, Jim Gribble and Kate Welch, were both incumbents and ran unopposed.
Tom Sutton (write-in) 111
Jeramy Shuler 89
Seats up for election: 2
Total seats on board: 4
Jim Gribble (I) 148
Kate Welch (I) 134