Jane Hipps’ cakewalk ends, fight for N.C. Senate begins

fr hippsJane Hipps was quickly anointed front-runner status in the Democratic primary for N.C. Senate — from the day she entered the race, in fact — but the victory she pulled out was the epitome of a clean sweep.

She won in all seven counties that make up the far western N.C. Senate district, and handily at that.

“I felt like I would win, but I didn’t realize the statistics would be that heavily in my favor,” Hipps said.

The point spread even elicited props from Hipps’ future opponent on the ballot come November.

“I think her victory was impressive. It showed she was a formidable candidate and she worked hard,” said N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin.

But Davis was quick to add that it was no harbinger of the fall election. Primaries are like preaching to the choir. Being a favorite with your own party loyalists is hardly a test of general voter sentiment, Davis said.

But to Hipps, her resounding victory in the primary is telling and sends a message.

“It is almost an overwhelming mandate to bring change to our region,” Hipps said.

Even in the primary, her eye was on the finish line in November, not jostling with a fellow Democrat, she said.

“I wasn’t running against Ron Robinson, but I was running for the needs of our people,” Hipps said. 

Hipps said she has been on the campaign trail seven days a week for two months already. With the trial run of May’s Democratic primary behind her, she is ready for the real race will begin.

“I think we know the concerns. I think the responsibility now is to get the message out,” Hipps said.

Davis said he’s ready, too.

“I look forward to a vigorous debate in the general election. It will be up to each of us as candidates of our respective parties to put forth our ideas for North Carolina,” Davis said.

Hipps pulled down her biggest margin in her home county of Haywood, winning 85 percent of the vote there. A big win in Haywood packed extra punch, since it’s the biggest county population-wise out of the seven counties in N.C. Senate 50.

Davis points to his own election record — tromping his Democratic challenger in 2012 with 57 percent of the vote.

“I think my margin of victory last time shows that I had widespread support,” Davis said, adding that he won’t take that for granted, however. 

Davis is an orthodontist in Franklin who has served four years in Raleigh and 10 as a county commissioner in Macon before that.

Hipps is a retired educator, counselor and curriculum advisor with three masters degrees, but borrows name recognition from her late husband Charlie Hipps, a long-serving district attorney and former state senator himself.



By the numbers

Jane Hipps sailed to victory in the Democratic primary for N.C. Senate. The mountainous senate seat — the 50th seat out of 50 —  represents the state’s seven western-most counties, including Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain. Hipps will go up against Rep. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, in the fall.

                              Haywood      Jackson      Macon     Swain     Total

Jane Hipps            3,044              2,139         1,075       1,023      9,344 (70.2%)

Ron Robinson        522                1,210          473          730        3,964 (29.8%)


N.C. House race headed for rematch

Mike Clampitt from Bryson City hit a homerun in the Republican primary for N.C. House 119, setting him up for a rematch against N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville. The seat represents Jackson and Swain counties, and part of Haywood (namely the greater Waynesville and Lake Junaluska areas.)

Mike Clampitt: 1,482 votes (62.9%)

Aaron Littlefield: 449 votes (19%)

Dodie Allen: 426 votes (18.1%)

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