Gunter declares candidacy for N.C. Senate seat left open by Sen. Martin Nesbitt’s death


UPDATE March 20 9:40 p.m.: Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones, considered a candidate for this seat, has thrown her support behind Gunter. Here’s Jones’ statement, posted on FB:

After much thought and prayer, I have decided at this time, I best serve my community as a Buncombe County Commissioner. I am very proud of our board’s policy advancements in supporting public education, protecting the environment and advancing equality. I greatly appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support I have received from all aspects of our broad community during this discernment. Thank you! Proud to support Veronika Gunter to fill Senator Nesbitt’s seat.

ORIGINAL POST March 20: Here’s the press release. Gunter is at least the third candidate to openly declare their candidacy for the seat left open by the recent death of N.C. Martin Nesbitt. Terry Van Duyn announced her candidacy earlier this week, and former judge Dennis Winner and Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones have also said they’re interested.

Veronika Gunter announced today that she will seek appointment to the seat of the late Senator Martin Nesbitt and to be on the ballot in the November 4 General Election.

Gunter moved to Buncombe 23 yard ago and has been an active in community service. For the past 15 years, Gunter has been Buncombe County’s most successful campaign manager for Democrats running in city, county, and state House races.

She worked with and grew to know Senator Nesbitt through her advocacy for the Clean Smokestacks Act, which was one of Sen. Nesbitt’s landmark pieces of legislation.

“Senator Nesbitt was a true champion for everyday people and those in need. He will never be replaced,” Gunter said. “Like him, I believe in fairness and dignity, and am committed to bringing people together to move our community forward. I hope to carry forward Senator Nesbitt’s legacy as a strong and effective advocate for education, women’s rights, and the environment.”

“But we cannot lose sight of the fact that Democrats will not be able to advance an agenda that serves working poor until we win back the Senate and House,” Gunter said. “We must elect more fellow Democrats.”

“While Buncombe County is moving forward thanks to our elected Democratic officials and their leadership, the North Carolina General Assembly has taken our state backward,” Gunter said. “The majority is dismantling public education, public health, environmental protections, and voting rights. The majority is destroying our state’s hard-earned reputation as a great place to do business and raise a family. Taking back the Senate and the House is the only way to restore North Carolina.”

Gunter said she has put a great deal of thought into her decision, and has spoken with leaders in the Senate as well as local elected officials, party members, neighbors, and people on the street. Gunter said she has been encouraged to run.

“What I hear is that we need a Senator who shares Martin’s values and also has grassroots experience, statewide vision, and a long-term commitment to the people,” Gunter said. “I share his values, I have that vision, and I am ready and able to make that commitment. I will deliver on behalf of Buncombe and of North Carolina.”

Most recently, Gunter managed the successful 2013 campaign of Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. She is the campaign coordinator for John Ager for NC House 115 and campaign manager for Brownie Newman’s bid for re-election to the County Commission for District 1. Gunter was central to electoral victories for County Commissioner Holly Jones, Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger, Representative Patsy Keever, and City Councilmembers Gordon Smith and Marc Hunt.

Gunter is an Administrator at The Van Winkle Law Firm. She is a graduate of UNC-A. She was raised in rural East Tennessee. Her mother was a waitress and her father worked 40 years for the same manufacturing company. Both were and are active community volunteers. Gunter said they instilled values of hard work and giving back.


Shannon March 31, 2014 - 9:37 pm

I wonder if Veronika will be using her time on the clock at Van Winkle to work on her election the way she did to work on other elections? She’s the perfect two faced person to be a politician. Retired Judge Dennis Winner would make a much more appropriate and competent state senator.

theOtherBarry March 31, 2014 - 10:52 pm

Pretty harsh words from an anonymous poster. What are you hiding, I wonder?

Shannon April 1, 2014 - 6:37 pm

I know her personally and I’m sure she wouldn’t need to know my last name to know who I am. I have nothing to hide but I will dodge any kind of vengeful response by sitting quietly behind by first name.

theOtherBarry April 1, 2014 - 9:31 pm

Not sure I get it – you say you’re sure she knows who you are, but you’re still choosing anonymity to avoid “vengeful response”? You “have nothing to hide” but are choosing to hide anyway?

In the immortal paraphrased words of Pete Kaliner, “there is no other logical conclusion but that this doesn’t make sense.”

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