Durham Mayor and City Council races heating up | Election 2023

Tom George Image
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Durham mayoral race heating up
Crime and development are some top issues facing the 8 Durham mayor candidates.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- While a lot of the political conversation is starting to swirl over 2024, locally the Bull City has some big races coming in just about a month a half.

The primary election for Mayor and City Council is set for October 10th, and the race is wide open.

With incumbent Mayor Elaine O'Neal announcing she's not seeking re-election, eight candidates are vying to succeed her - including a state senator and two current councilmembers:

  • Mike Woodard
  • Leonardo Williams
  • DeDreana Freeman
  • Charlitta Burruss
  • Jontae Dunston
  • Nick Pettiford
  • Marshall Williams, Jr.
  • Sylvester Williams

The race for council is even more wide open, with 12 candidates vying for three open seats.

The main issues many are talking about include crime and gun violence, affordable housing, and making sure development doesn't price out longtime residents.

"There have been pockets that have started to grow and the kind of stopped like East Durham I feel was starting to become this hot spot and now I feel like it's restricting again so just making it available to small businesses," said one Durham resident we spoke with.

Community groups are keeping a close eye on the race and share those concerns. Larry Hall, a former State Representative from Durham now with the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People says as they begin meeting with candidates, they're also concerned with balancing growth with concerns over gentrification.

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"And who is responsible to have that vision and have that discipline and say yes we'll have development but we will maintain the quality of life for all of our citizens by increasing our infrastructure," Hall says.

The primary election is on October 10th.

The top two candidates for mayor and the top six candidates for the three open council seats will advance to the general election in November.