Deschutes flap acts as catalyst for King’s commission campaign

Nonprofit agencies will make their case for funding from Buncombe County's upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2018. A total of 46 nonprofits are asking for an aggregate of almost $11 million.

The picture for District 3 of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners election slate became a bit clearer over the weekend: Democrats are putting David King on the ballot. Still unknown is who Republicans will select to run in November for the two-year term created by Miranda DeBruhl‘s abrupt resignation from the board. Tim Moffitt is now serving in DeBruhl’s stead, but has not yet expressed interest in running for the rest of the term.

King previously served on the Board of Commissioners as a Republican, but has since switched political allegiance. He was officially nominated by the Buncombe County Democratic party on Saturday.

Xpress reached out to King to talk about his newly formed campaign. He says he initially had no plans to get back into politics, but he felt compelled because of circumstances surrounding the county’s attempt to lure Deschutes Brewery. “The incident over Deschutes Brewery was handled so badly by the Republicans, and DeBruhl in particular. That was such a great loss to Buncombe County in terms of economic development and jobs,” says King.

He believes Debruhl was “out of line” by breaking ranks from the rest of the board and contacting the company’s leadership. “I do think it jeopardized [the potential deal]. There’s no guarantee we would have gotten that business here… but when you take it upon yourself, as a commissioner, to call the CEO of that corporation, which is totally inappropriate, and ask, ‘When are you going to make up your mind?’ that’s not exactly rolling the red carpet out.”

King notes that he has a history of working well with differing views on the board and says, “I am very familiar with the office and feel I was successful in being bipartisan.”

King says education and the economy need to be priorities for the county, noting he wants to “Support teachers and education, and continue to work with the Chamber and seek good jobs.” He says Buncombe County also needs to protect what makes it unique and to “Preserve the environment, open spaces and farmland to protect the place we live.”

King says the county also needs to make sure to keep tourism as an economic engine.

With the election just five months away, King knows he needs to hit the ground running. “For any candidate to come in with that short of notice… it’s very difficult to put together a campaign. There’s a lot work in a very short period of time, but I can do that,” says King. He adds that having previous campaign experience is beneficial.

He says the reaction so far to his campaign has been positive, and he’s already received support from Democrats and Republicans. As for his chances of winning District 3, which is heavily Republican, he says he’s the man for the job. “We are shifting as a district. Each year it continues to change, with new people moving into the district and also with needs changing in the district,” he explains. “I consider myself to be rational and basically moderate. I’m going to listen to all sides of an issue before making a decision.”

King doesn’t know who he’s running against, but says he’s “not focusing on that.”

Republican leadership previously indicated that the party would meet toward the end of June to discuss who will run against King and also who will take DeBruhl’s place in the race for Commission Chair. The GOP has until 75 days before the election to name its candidates for the November election.

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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at dhesse@mountainx.com.

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