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Bogardus to advance in Jackson contest

Susan Bogardus has won the Democratic primary in the race to represent Jackson County’s District 3 on the Board of Commissioners. Pulling 42.02 percent of the vote, she beat out opponents Cody Lewis and Brad Stillwell — who received 34.76 and 23.21 percent, respectively — for the chance to face Republican Tom Stribling in November. 

“I really want to do this, and the people that know me and came out to vote for me, they know the person I am,” said Bogardus. “You win races because you have relationships with people and they trust you. I think that there are many people in this county who know me and trust me.”

She said that while she wasn’t surprised about the outcome of this Primary Election, she expects stiff competition heading into the General Election. However, she said she looks forward to the challenge and hopes to ultimately win a seat on the board. 

In a pre-election interview, Bogardus said that her top three priorities, should she be elected, would be to boost affordable housing opportunities for working people, support local businesses so that they can pay employees living wages and improve infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. 

With no incumbent in place, the General Election will be anybody’s race. The seat is currently held by Republican Commissioner Ron Mau, who vacated it for a chance at the N.C. House District 119 seat. However, Mau lost his bid for state office in the Primary Election contest against Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt. 

Like the Republican commissioner she hopes to replace — and unlike both of her Primary Election opponents — Bogardus is not originally from Jackson County. A self-described “Air Force brat,” she moved all over the country while growing up but calls Jackson County home after 13 years of living there. She is a registered dietitian with a doctorate in nutrition science, currently working as a dietician at the Cherokee Indian Hospital. While she has never held elected office before, Bogardus has been active in the Jackson County Democratic Party since moving to the area in 2007, serving as both a precinct chair and assistant chair. 

Jackson Commissioners

Democrat District 3

  • Susan Bogardus:2,263
  • T. Cody Lewis:1,872
  • Brad Stilwell:1,250 


Cooper will return to school board

Elizabeth Cooper reeled in a decisive win in her bid for re-election to her seat on the Jackson County Board of Education, taking 66.49 percent of the vote against challenger Shane Danner. 

Cooper — who as the District 1 representative represents Sylva-South Ward, Dillsboro, Barkers Creek and Qualla — was appointed to the board by majority vote in 2010, when she filled the unexpired term of Mark Brooks. She won re-election in May 2012 and was then elected for a two-year term as vice-chair beginning July 2018. 

Incumbent Wesley Jamison had an uncontested primary and will also return to the board for another term following the election results. 

Unlike the other races on the Primary Election ballot, the final outcome of the non-partisan school board race was decided by today’s votes. Elections for the five-member board are staggered, with elections held at the time of the spring primary in even-numbered years. 

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