Candidates Vying for State House & Senate - TribPapers

Candidates Vying for State House & Senate

Photo by Chay Ka.

Buncombe County – Last week, the Tribune introduced you to all the non-partisan candidates in Buncombe County. This week, we introduce you to the state house and senate candidates for Buncombe County races.

NC State House


J. Eric Ager, a Democrat from Asheville, and the son of NC Rep. John Ager, is looking to take his dad’s seat and continue the Ager legacy. 

According to his website,, “Ager believes we must expect more from our state legislature. We can prioritize the needs of working people, children, and veterans. It’s a matter of priorities, values, and hard work.” 

He has no primary challenger.

Everett D. Pittillo, a Republican from Black Mountain, wants to end the Agers’ reign in Raleigh. Pittillo ran for Buncombe County Board of Education for the Owen District in 2020, coming in third. No website for his campaign could be found. He has no primary challenger.


Lindsey Prather, a teacher, is a Democrat from Candler. Her main issues, according to her website (, are education, good government, access to health care and affordability, environment and equality. She has no primary challenger.

Pratik Bhakta is a Republican (and of Sanskrit Indian decent) from Asheville who ran for Asheville City Council back in 2012. According to his website (, his campaign values are service, education, family values and being an advocate for voters. His top priorities are: increase jobs and economic prosperity, improve the education system for the Students/Parents/Teachers, bring fiscal responsibility to the state budget and spending, protect Constitutional rights, promote election integrity, support law enforcement/armed forces/veterans and be your conservative voice of logic and reasoning. He has a primary challenger.

Arden’s Sherry M. Higgins is a Republican. She’s a WNC native with 29 years of experience as a CPA and small business owner. She is found on Facebook, but there is no real information on her page and no website could be found. She has a primary challenger.


After being away, Caleb Rudow, a Democrat from Asheville, came back to Buncombe County. According to his website (, Rudow “…is a data scientist and researches how to make public data more accessible and usable to the general public. He believes that data are critical to helping elected official and public leaders make better decisions and will use his background in data to draft policy and better understand the critical issues facing District 116. He has a master’s degree in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.” He has no primary challenger.

Mollie Rose is a Republican from Weaverville. No Facebook or website could be found for her. She has no primary challenger.

State Senate


Billy Martin is a Democrat from Marion. According to a McDowell News article, “Billy S. Martin, 72, of 350 Holly Hill Drive, Marion, filed as a Democratic challenger for the District 46 seat in the NC Senate. He is a member of the Marion City Council and a retired educator.” No website was found for Martin. He has no primary challenger.

Black Mountain Republican Mark Crawford is running. According to Ballotpedia, “Crawford earned his B.S. from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 1982 and his M.A. from the University of Florida in 1994. His professional experience includes working as a realtor for Coldwell Banker Harrell & Associates. He served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1992. He has served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army reserves since 1992.” This is not Crawford’s first time running for state office, and he has a primary challenger.

Incumbent Warren Daniel is a Republican from Morganton who is running for re-election. According to Ballotpedia, “Daniel graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1991 with a B.S. in National Security and Public Affairs. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Field Artillery. He later transitioned to reserve status and earned his J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Daniel began practicing law at the Daniel Law Firm in 2000.” Crawford is his primary challenger.


A Democrat from Asheville, Sandra Kilgore, is running to challenge her fellow incumbent Democrat Julie Mayfield. As Asheville City Councilwoman, Kilgore is now seeking a state-level office. According to her website (, important issues for Kilgore are: being a voice for the people, infrastructure implementation, protecting rights under attack, Medicare and Medicaid expansion and distribution of TDA Funds. She has two primary challengers.

Julie Mayfield is a Democrat from Asheville and the incumbent. According to a statement on her website (, Mayfield states, “I am a practical progressive. I have a deeply rooted sense of justice and fairness, and an overriding desire to accomplish real change that improves lives and makes our community stronger.” She also says, “While I was born and raised in Atlanta, the North Carolina mountains helped make me the person I am today. My mother was born in Asheville and raised in Jackson County, where our family’s roots date back more than 150 years.” She has two primary challengers.

Taylon Breeden, a Democrat from Asheville, is another candidate challenging Mayfield for the primary. According to her website ( “Taylon Breeden, an Asheville small business owner, farmer and community organizer, is blazing the trail as candidate for NC State Senate Seat 49.” She has two primary challengers. 

John Anderson is a Republican from Candler and currently has no website or Facebook. He has no primary challengers.

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