Local Politics

Watauga County showcases NC's battleground political landscape

Posted October 12, 2012 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2012 6:51 p.m. EDT

— Much has been said this election year about how North Carolina is a battleground state, but it doesn't stop there. Within North Carolina’s borders, there are key battleground counties.

After years of voting for Republicans, Watauga County went the other way in the last presidential race and voted for President Barack Obama in 2008. Many observers say the small mountain county offers a snapshot of a changing North Carolina.

The differing opinions on the presidential election were evident recently when WRAL News spoke with patrons at a Boone coffee bar, Espresso News.

Madeline Privette, a 19-year-old Appalachian State University nursing student from Raleigh, said she was excited to support Obama in 2008.

“I think most of my excitement was he was a minority, and it was something really different and this big change mantra that he had,” she said.

Now, four years later, Privette says she thinks it’s time for another change. Obama, she says, fell short of the hopes.

Small-business owner Karl Smith said he doesn’t care about supporting red or blue, he represents the shade of gray.

“I just got to the point where I could care less whether it’s Republican or Democrat. I just want somebody to come in there, tell us what they’re going to do and do it – not tell us what they’re going to do just so they can get elected,” Smith said.

Boone resident and Florida native Bill Parish says he supports Obama.

“It does seem to me that Obama would be better for small business,” Parish said. “I think Obama is going to be better for me just because I’m 65 now, and he’s less down on doing (away with) with Social Security and stuff.”

Brick-layer and mountain native Wendell Williams has a different take.

“I like Romney. I’m personally going to vote for Romney," he said.

Watauga County did vote Republican in the mid-term elections two years ago, but was one of only a handful of counties to vote against the state's marriage amendment in May.