Durham City Council Member Leonardo Williams files to run for Bull City Mayor

WTVD logo
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Leonardo Williams seeks to be next Mayor of Durham
EMBED <>More Videos

Another current Durham City Council member is running to be the city's next mayor.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Another current Durham City Council member is running to be the city's next mayor.

Leonardo Williams officially filed his paperwork Thursday, one day ahead of the filing deadline. He also plans to make the formal announcement Friday at 11:30 a.m.

Williams is a small business owner who graduated from North Carolina Central University.

He was elected to the council in 2021 to represent Ward 3.

Williams said he wanted his candidacy to focus on transparency, affordable housing and transportation improvements.

"There has to be a different tone because Durham is on the cusp of being transformational once again. It's been a while since we've been transformational, and I believe in being leaders, not laggers," he said.

RELATED | Photo ID required of NC voters in election 2023: Everything you need to know before you vote

"We have 27,000 job vacancies in this city, so therefore we need more workforce development," he said. "If more people can get access to jobs that pay more, we can then deal with the affordable housing situation. It's not about building a cheap structure, it's about making sure that folks can meet where their needs are."

Williams is the second council member to announce they would seek the office of mayor in the 2023 election. DeDreana Freeman from Ward 1 also recently announced her intentions to run.

However, Council Member and Mayor Pro Tempore Mark-Anthony Middleton announced he would not run for mayor.

In addition, North Carolina State Senator Mike Woodard, who served on the Durham City Council from 2005-2012 and has been in the state Senate since 2013, announced he would run for the office.

The candidate filing period closes at noon Friday. The primary election will happen on Oct. 10. The top two vote getters in the primary will then face off in the general election on Nov. 7.

Current Durham Mayor Elaine O'Neal dropped the news in June that she would not seek re-election. She was elected in 2021, becoming the city's first Black female to hold the office.

Durham passes city budget, with pay increase for firefighters, no hike in property taxes