After a two-year battle to win a seat, DaJuan Gay, 22, was sworn in on Monday, July 8, 2019.
DaJuan is the youngest city council member in Annapolis history upon winning the special election for Ward 6 with a write-in campaign, for whom any Ward 6 resident regardless of political party could vote.
Gay first ran for the council seat 2017, at the age of 19, losing to Shaneka Henson.
This spring, Henson gave up her seat on the city council after she was nominated to the House of Delegates to serve the remainder of Michael Busch’s term representing District 30A. The popular Democrat, Speaker of the House for a record-breaking 16 years, died suddenly on April 7.
When Henson made her announcement, Gay knew he had to run again.
“I really, really wanted it,” he said. “I love politics. I could not give up.”
Once again, he was rebuffed. He was disqualified by the election commission from the party race for incorrectly signed paperwork.
His next strategy was the write-in candidacy.
“It was a no-brainer to stay here and fight for the people I’ve known my entire life,” said Gay, who plans to graduate from University of Maryland Eastern Shore in December.
He was born in Baltimore but grew up in the neighborhoods of Ward 6, which encompasses Eastport, some of Forest Drive, Robinwood and a few other city communities.
Gay said he campaigned harder after the disqualification. He was endorsed by both Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pitman.
This time he won, polling 204 write-in votes. Republican candidate George Gallagher earned 71 votes, and Democratic nominee Yiannes Kacoyianni won 62.
The previous youngest city council member, Brad Davidson, was 25 and won his seat in the 1980s, according to The Washington Post.
Gay said he wants to create more affordable housing in the ward and hopes to unveil a plan in the near future. He also plans to tackle crime by providing more and higher-paying job opportunities.
“I will use my momentum to get the job done,” he told Bay Weekly. “The work is just beginning.”