By JOSEPH MARTIN
ONE FEATHER STAFF
SYLVA – Democrat Brian McMahan will remain as chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners after he defeated Republican challenger Ron Mau by a vote 8,475-6,393. Had Mau prevailed, EBCI Tribal Secretary of Operations Jeremy Hyatt was tapped to fill the remainder of Mau’s term as commissioner, and Jackson County would have joined Swain County in having a tribal member elected to its government. Democrat Ben Bushyhead was elected to serve as Swain County’s chairman.
McMahan took the Qualla precinct, where most of the Tribe’s Jackson County residents vote, 822-683.
McMahan released a statement through Facebook, “We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the voters of Jackson County for your vote of confidence and trust. Let us now resolve to come together as a community and work together for the benefit of all the people. Thank you.”
Mau said in a Facebook post, “Although the result wasn’t how we hoped, thank you to all who voted. The good news: I’ll continue to serve as commissioner representing District 3 and will continue to represent you.”
Democratic Commissioner Boyce Dietz will be joined by newly-elected Democratic Commissioner Gayle Woody, who defeated long-time incumbent Republican Charles Elders 8,049-6,882. Dietz and Elders were two of four incumbents up for reelection.
Hyatt wished the elected leadership of Jackson County well. “It was an honor be considered a potential appointment to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners,” he said. “I do look forward to finding new opportunities to build and nurture relationships between the (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) and Jackson County, and I wish nothing but the best for the elected leadership of Jackson County.”