12 votes separate Queen, Davis in race for N.C. House

The race for N.C. House of Representatives between two well-known and prominent Waynesville Democrats, Danny Davis and Joe Sam Queen, came down to the wire Tuesday night.

Queen emerged as the top vote getter by only 12 votes. But, Davis said he was not prepared to concede the race. Results are considered “unofficial” on election night and are not certified for another two or three days, after the county election boards are able to verify provisional ballots, a process that can result in a shuffling of few votes here and there.

“Twelve votes is just too close,” Davis said Tuesday night. “I want to wait until we know more about these other ballots.”

Davis spent 26 years as a District Court judge in the seven western counties, what he calls a “front row seat” on the issues affecting people’s lives. Meanwhile, Queen, an architect with a side business managing a vast inventory of rental property, points to his six years spent in Raleigh as a state senator.

While Queen and Davis are both from Waynesville, the candidates had the most at stake in Jackson County — clearly the largest bloc of Democratic voters compared to much smaller Swain County and the fraction of Haywood that lies in the district.

Queen and Davis both spent the day campaigning in Sylva.

“We had a very pleasant day together at the same precinct all day long in the rain and in the sun. We had good sensible conversation, intermittent with shaking hands and trying to win our share of the votes,” Queen said.

Queen said Democratic voters were torn, witnessed by the close vote.

“We are both well-known, well-like Democrats with significant records of public service and loyal constituents,” Queen said.

Queen has been a state senator representing Haywood County but has never been on the ballot in Jackson.

Queen campaigned actively in Jackson County, attending community functions and hosting meet-and-greet receptions with voters.

“Jackson County is half the district, and it was new to me, so it was certainly my battle ground,” Queen said.

The winner will run against Mike Clampitt, a Republican from Swain County, come November.

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