County races: Haywood

Haywood County

Haywood Commissioners 

What’s up for election? Three out of five seats on the county board. 

About the race: The current Haywood commissioners have enjoyed a stable tenure, consistently winning their seats when they come up for reelection. They have largely avoided controversy and kept a steady hand at the helm. All three incumbents, with long histories of elected office.

Democrats: only three advance

•Kirk Kirkpatrick, a lawyer, has been on the board since 2002 and has been a supporter of recreation.

•Michael Sorrells has been a commissioner for four years and previously served six years on the school board. He is a service station, convenience store and café owner in Jonathan Creek.

•Bill Upton, the retired superintendent of Haywood County Schools, a principal and teacher, has been on the board eight years.

•Bob McClure has been a bailiff for 14 years for the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department. Prior to that, he worked at the now-closed Dayco manufacturing plant in Hazelwood for 33 years.

•Kyle Edwards owns the Stompin’ Ground in Maggie Valley, a campground, and is a general contractor. He considered bringing jobs to the area to be a priority. 

“We need to keep jobs for our younger generation here in Haywood,” Edwards said. “Our jobs and our people are leaving the county.”


• Denny King, a conservative voice in county politics and frequent critic of sitting commissioner’s decisions, previously ran for a commission seat in 2012. He came within 300 votes. 

• Phil Wight, owner of a motel in Maggie Valley and Maggie town alderman. Wight has long been involved in Maggie’s controversial breed of politics and a player in the tourism industry.


• Dr. Windy McKinney, is a historian and writer with a doctorate in Medieval Studies from the University of York, in the United Kingdom. She is the Libertarian Party of Haywood County’s first candidate for county commissioner and feels the area is ready for a candidate who will “change politics as usual.”


Haywood Sheriff 

About the race: And the winner is… Sheriff Greg Christopher. Christopher has proven immensely popular and effective in just a short time, after being named sheriff barely a year ago after the sitting sheriff at the time stepped down. Christopher has made several innovations at the department. He has improved moral, public outreach, cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and drug enforcement. He has also made a point of being more visible and accessible in the community.

Word on the street was no challengers would have had a chance.



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