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With the majority of ballots counted, unofficial results have Schewel ahead 58 to 42 percent.
It was the first time in 16 years that the City of Durham held an election for mayor without Bill Bell's name on the ballot. Bell is retiring from public life and leaves behind a city dramatically different than it was when he took office in 2001.
Among the issues in the campaign, the candidates focused on crime and community policing, affordable housing, and the individual style they would bring to the job.
As for Schewel's first order of business?
"We need to continue what we're doing and build on what we're doing to build more affordable housing, to keep housing affordable in this city, so that people can afford to live here," Schewel said. "That's got to be our first priority."