Cherokee County is the westernmost county in North Carolina, located in the Appalachian mountains. The county seat is Murphy. (“Manteo to Murphy.”) The name of the county is derived from the Cherokee tribe, parts of the Eastern Cherokee Indian Reservation are located here.
1988: R+21 (Solid Republican)
1992: R+10 (Strong Republican)
1996: R+17 (Solid Republican)
2000: R+32 (Solid Republican)
2004: R+32 (Solid Republican)
2008: R+46 (Solid Republican)
2012: R+50 (Solid Republican)
Forecast: Cherokee has historically been a strong Republican county, but the perceived cultural liberalism on the part of the Democrats has made the county even redder with the passage of time. Barack Obama did especially poor here during his presidential runs. Its location in the Chattanooga, Tennessee media market is one explanation for this poor showing; Obama had no incentive to run ads here.
The county growth rate is 12.95%, which is steady and about the national average. The bulk of the growth consists of retirees, especially from Florida. It is unknown how these transplants may affect the political landscape in Cherokee and the wider mountain counties, but a precinct analysis would yield valuable information. Even if these retirees are Democrats, their numbers have been overwhelmed by the huge Republican trend among native Appalachian voters. A Democrat like Hillary Clinton may prove to be not as repugnant to Cherokee voters, but the county will remain solidly Republican.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.