Contacts for Democrats of Polk County

Links to this page: Executive Board Members   Precinct Information     Standing Organizations    County Officials    Board of Elections   NC Representatives    US Representatives  Town Officials

We are the Polk County Democratic Party, the chartered affiliate of the North Carolina Democratic Party. We represent the political interests of Polk County Democrats, not only through direct political action, but also through community service.

The party headquarters is located at 64 Ward Street in Columbus, behind the courthouse and between the Sheriff's Department and the Post Office.

There is no phone service for the headquarters during the intervals between elections. When you need information, please contact the appropriate individual using their contact numbers listed in this section.

Our mailing address is:

Polk County Democratic Party
PO Box 602
Columbus NC 28722

(Don't send anything to the street address; there is no mail delivery there.)

The governing body of the Polk County Democratic Party is its Executive Committee, which consists of:

  • The Officers of the Executive Board
  • The Precinct Chairs and Vice-Chairs
  • The presidents of the Men's and Women's clubs
  • All current Democratic elected officials


County Democratic Executive Board

The Executive Board of the Polk County Democratic Party consists of the six people holding the following offices: County Chair, the three Vice-Chairs, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.  Board members serve for two-year terms, and are elected at county conventions in odd-numbered years, in April.  Officers for the 2013-2014 term are as follows:

County Chair
Russell Mierop
828-817-3689 E-mail
1st Vice Chair
Laura Price
859-9701 E-mail
 2nd Vice Chair
Franklin Smith
3rd Vice Chair
Renee McDermott
Rachel Goettert
894-5325 E-mail
Jack Shumway 894-8070 E-mail

* All phone numbers are area code 828.

Precinct Information

The 7 Polk County Democratic Precincts each select three officers: Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary.  Precincts are not allowed to raise or spend money indepedently, so there is no treasurer function. The officers serve for two-year terms, and are elected at annual precinct meetings in odd-numbered years, at a date specified by the state party but usually in February.

Precinct offices are largely ceremonial, and have official roles only during elections themselves. Virtually all party functions occur at the Executive Committee level and the two auxiliaries. 

Precinct officer elections were held on March 4-5, 2013, and the new precinct officers for the 2013-2014 election cycle are listed in the following chart.  In all cases the three officers are listed in the order of Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary.

Pct Officers Phone E-mail Polling Place
123 Laura Price
859-9701 E-mail Harmon Field Cabin
  Marshall Lipscomb
 859-0154  --  
  Emma Hamilton 859-7078  e-mail  
 4 Ellen Rogers
749-2171  --  Saluda Firehouse
 --  --
     -- --  
 5 Brian Peters 625-8014   Sunnyview School
  Ben Lynch 652-2907    
 6 Johnny Metcalf  894-3813   Mill Spring FD
  Bonna Connor 894-6015    
  William Arledge  894-2816    
 7 Russell Mierop
 863-4799  e-mail PC High School 
  George Patton
 --  e-mail  
  Vacant -- --  
 8 Frances Parker
 894-6017 e-mail Isothermal CC
  Butch Kennedy
894-3678 --
  Kathleen Knowakowski  --  --  
 9 Laura Peek
 863-1365 e-mail  GC Family Life Center
  Preston White
863-2194  e-mail  
  Jennie Smith
 863-2689 --  

Note: Polling places for municipal elections are the same as for regular elections for Tryon and Saluda, but for Columbus it is Columbus Town Hall, 99 Walker St.

 Auxiliary organizations

  • Men's Club, President, Pete Santos (828-625-1689, or e-mail). The Men's Club meets on the last Saturday of each month, at 8:30 am, at the HQ.
  • Women's Club, Margaret Parker (894-3219, or e-mail), President. The Women's Club meets on the last Monday of each month, at 11:00 am, at the HQ.

Polk County Officials

The 2012-2014 Board of County Commissioners is comprised of four Republicans and one Democrat, to the great regret of all.   Here is their contact information:





Michael Gage




Tom Pack




Ray Gasperson




Keith Holbert




Ted Owens




Michael Gage and Tom Pack were elected in 2012 to four-year terms, and Keith Holbert to the two-year term. Ray Gasperson was elected to a 4-year term in 2010 and continues in office.

Ted Owens is the county chair, and Michael Gage the vice-chair. 

Polk County law regarding the election of commissioners is unusual in that every two years the terms of three of the five commissioners expire, so that a numerical majority is always up for election but not the whole commission.  This is achieved by awarding 4-year terms to the two top vote-getters, but only a 2-year term to the low vote-getter (among the winners).  The low vote-getter thus becomes the third commissioner up for election in the next cycle.

The Sheriff is Donald Hill, a Democrat, who was elected to a full term in 2010, and thus will be up in 2014.  His office is in the Sheriff's Department next to the party HQ on Ward Street, and his phone is 828-894-3001.

The Clerk of Court is Pam Hyder, a Democrat, who was elected in her own right in 2012. She will serve out the remainder of Charlene Owens' term, and will be up again in 2014. Her office is in the Courthouse, and her phone is 828-894-8231.

The Registrar of Deeds is Sheila Whitmire, a Republican, re-elected in 2012 to a four-year term; she will be up for re-election in 2016. Her office is in the Womack Building across from the courthouse, her phone is 828-894-8450, and her website is here.

Board of Elections

Every two years the Board of Elections becomes the most important County agency in terms of Polk County politics. It's where you register to vote, where candidates register to run, and it runs the elections themselves. The Board is located at 40 Courthouse St, Columbus NC 28722, on the second floor of the Womack Building, directly across from the courthouse.  The mailing address is:

Polk County Board of Elections
PO Box 253
Columbus NC 28722

The Board of Elections is bipartisan, but political at the same time. It consists of three members: one Democrat, one Republican, and a chair from the same party as the current governor. Thus the party in power in Raleigh controls the Board, but the other party is represented. The current Board members are as follows:






David Moore





Scott Woodworth




Sharon Goettert




The 2012 elections brought in a Republican governor, and so the the Board of Elections changed to a Republican majority. The new chair is David Moore.

Tracy Waters, Director of Elections, oversees the county employees and poll workers who actually run the elections.

The BoE phone number is (828) 894-8181, their fax is (828) 894-3565, and their email is here. The office hours are 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday thru Friday.

The BOE website is here.

Federal Officials

Our junior senator is Democrat Kay Hagan, elected in 2008 to fill the seat once held by Jesse Helms.  Her term is up in 2014.

Her contact information is here.

Our senior Senator is Richard M. Burr, a Republican from Winston Salem, who was re-elected to a second term in 2010. He will be up for re-election in 2016.

 His contact information is here.

Our Congressman, since the redistricting following the 2010 census, is Patrick McHenry, a Republican, who represents our new 10th Congressional District.  His contact information is here.


Our Representatives in Raleigh

Our governor is Pat McCrory, a Republican who was elected in 2012. Governors are term-limited to two four-year terms.

His contact information is here.

Our representative in the State General Assembly is  Chris Whitmire, a Republican from Brevard who represents the 113th district, and was elected to his first term in 2012. That district includes all of Polk and Transylvania counties and the southern part of Henderson County. The heavy Republican demographic in Henderson County has historically made this district safe for the other side.  State representatives serve two-year terms.

His contact information is here.

Our State Senator is Ralph Hise, which is new for us as a result of the 2010 redistricting. He represents the 47th Senatorial district.  State senators serve two-year terms. His contact information is here.


Polk County has three major towns: Columbus (the county seat), Tryon, and Saluda.  Their web sites are as follows:


The mayor of Columbus is Eric McIntyre, who is Unaffilated.  Town Council members are: Margaret Metcalf (D), Josh Denton (U, but votes in Republican primaries),  and Ricky McAllister (R).  The town administrator is Jonathan Kanipe.  The Columbus town contact information is here.

The mayor of Saluda is Fred Baisden, a Republican.  Town Council members are Carolyn Ashburn (D), Geoprge Oxtoby (R), Leon Morgan (R), and Lynn Cass (D). The Saluda town contact information is here.

The Mayor of Tryon is Jim Wright (U).  Town Council members are Bill Ingham (D), Happy McLeod (U, but votes in Democratic primaries), Roy Miller (D), and George Baker (U, but usually votes in Republican primaries). The town attorney is Bailey Nager.

The town contact information is here.