These North Carolina counties were politically aligned. Education has divided them

In the rural mountains of North Carolina’s High Country, the population of Boone has boomed over the last two decades — and so has its voting power.

Not everyone is happy about it.

“Are you tired of 6.3 square miles dictating the politics of all of Watauga County?” Melissa Goins Tauche, a Republican candidate for county commissioner, asks in a recent radio ad.

Not that long ago the politics of Watauga County, home to Appalachian State University, were aligned with its western North Carolina neighbors. Back in 2000, George W. Bush won here by a 13-point margin, as Watauga joined surrounding counties in picking the Republican for president.

Read more on USA Today.


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