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ECSU student battles back to win seat

Posted October 9, 2013
Updated October 10, 2013

Montravias King

— With a solid win Tuesday in the Elizabeth City's municipal election, Councilman-elect Montravias King has become the state's youngest elected official. 

King, 22, is a senior at Elizabeth City State University, where he's lived and voted since 2009. He was one of seven candidates to file for Ward 4, the City Council seat representing the school. 

It wasn't exactly a smooth road to Town Hall. 

In August, Pasquotank County Republican Party Chairman Pete Gilbert filed a challenge to King's candidacy, arguing that his residency in a dormitory did not qualify him for candidacy as a permanent resident of the 4th Ward.

Despite decades of legal precedents to the contrary, the Republican majority on the Pasquotank County Board of Elections agreed with Gilbert and voted to kick King off the ballot. 

King appealed to the State Board of Elections, which voted unanimously to throw out the local board's decision and put King's name back on the ballot. 

Tuesday night, he won his ward easily, with support from 68 percent of the voters, more than enough to avoid a runoff.  He'll be sworn into office in December. 

Reached by phone, King said he thinks the national attention to his story "gave us a good boost," especially in fundraising. 

"We raised about $4,000," he said. "When (MSNBC host) Rachel Maddow did her show from Elizabeth City, we brought in $500 that night alone."  

But in the end, he says, it was a "good ground game" and hard work, not national coverage, that won the local race. 

"We connected with the voters, and that’s something that’s been missing here in the 4th Ward for a long time," he said.  

King said he also hopes his win will encourage other students to run for office, despite the legal battles he had to fight along the way. 

"I would tell them to persevere," he said. "I would tell them to not allow anyone or anything to stop them from fulfilling their dreams. They have to believe in themselves, and in the people that they’re going to represent."

10 Comments

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  • soapbox Oct 11, 4:43 p.m.

    Good for you, Montravias King! I hope you have a long and productive political career ahead of you, if you so choose. And I hope you never forget what one determined person can achieve in this country, even when some would try to subvert the democratic process.

  • caronia49 Oct 11, 1:38 p.m.

    The people in Elizabeth City are really lucky to have this person represent them.....Ha Ha...

  • crkeehn Oct 11, 12:54 p.m.

    If Pasquotank County is so concerned about residency requirements at ECSU, why have they been running voter registration drives at Mid-Atlantic Christian University?

  • floydthebarber Oct 11, 10:49 a.m.

    I'm proud of this guy for standing up for Democracy!! He'll be a shining political star one day for sure if he wants it :-D

  • RandolphBloke Oct 10, 5:00 p.m.

    With the craziness the GOP is showing the country in the past few years, I hope this continues to occur. They're pushing too far and will find the pushback stings quite a bit more than expected.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 10, 12:05 p.m.

    Republicans, what are you thinking? Your voter suppression & your anti-American ways...are awful...and wrong. Is it really so hard to play by the rules?...to do unto others?

  • jttm69 Oct 10, 9:20 a.m.

    sometimes when you try to hard to disenfranchise people, it comes back to bite you.

  • krimson Oct 10, 9:17 a.m.

    Mr. King, the door has been opened... Don't mess this up!

  • AlternateOpinion Oct 10, 6:51 a.m.

    Congratulations, Councilman King.

  • normson7 Oct 9, 8:17 p.m.

    With more NC elections like this, we could bring our state back into the 21st century in spite of the Republicans.