The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 8th

N.C. State Student Loses Bid fo Raleigh City Council

N.C. State senior Thomas Croom lost to longtime incumbent Benson Kirkman by a wide margin for the District D seat, which contains N.C. State.

Kirkman received 69 percent of the vote, while Croom had 19 percent.

Croom blamed poor voter turnout for his loss.

"There was just low turnout in general ... but obviously the opposition had good turnout," he said.

Croom said he has lived in District D since 1983 and decided to run after seeing candidates run virtually unopposed and then ignore students in the area.

Croom said he tried vigorously to raise awareness and register voters on campus.

"One thing I was definitely proud of was that all of the workers in my campaign were students," Croom said.

He said he hopes the students who helped him will run for campus positions in the future and influence future students to vote in local elections.

Croom also said he hopes that students will pay more attention to local politics in the future, realizing the effect city policies can have on the university population.

W. Benson Kirkman said he was quite pleased with his win, receiving 69 percent of the vote in his district, the second highest percentage of any candidate in Wake County.

"We ran a campaign based on hard work and honesty, overall a positive campaign," Kirkman said.

He said he would keep holding office hours on campus for N.C. State students to personally address problems to him.

"I will continue to strengthen my partnership with student government, and try to get more students on advisory bodies in the city's government," Kirkman said.

Key issues Kirkman said he will continue to work on are revitalizing the business district of Hillsborough Street, put in round-a-bouts on Hillsborough Street and work on installing a state-of-the-art crosswalk there as well.

Kirkman, who boasts three degrees from N.C. State, said his heart is still in education. "I am the same person I was before I was elected," he said. "I am just going to keep working as hard as I possibly can."

UNC Association of Student Governments President Andrew Payne, who attends N.C. State, said it was harder to attract student voters because it was an off election year, one without a presidential race or other significant issues.

Payne said he saw this race as a great stride in student involvement in community politics. "What better way is there for students to get involved in local politics than to run?"

Croom said he has confidence in Kirkman's political abilities but also mentioned he might run again in the future.

But Croom said he has other issues on his mind. "My most immediate concern now is graduation."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stndesk@unc.edu.

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