WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — History was made in Wilmington last night, as Bill Saffo won another race for mayor.
Saffo, who was appointed mayor in 2006 when Spence Broadhurst resigned to move out of town, has won every election since 2007. With this win over Todd Zola Saffo will become the longest serving mayor in Wilmington history. He breaks the record of Walter H. Blair, who served for 11 years from 1926 to 1937.
“I’m honored that I’m the longest serving (mayor), but it is business as usual,” Saffo said. “There are a lot of things that our community is facing: opioid issue, the GenX issue, the growth issues that we are dealing with, traffic. There are a lot of things on our plate.”
Saffo won with about 85 percent of the vote.
It was a much tighter race for the three seats open for Wilmington City Council.
Incumbents Kevin O’Grady and Charlie Rivenbark led the way. For the third seat, it was back and forth all night between Clifford Barnett and Deb Hays. Barnett got just 95 more votes than Hays.
Coming into Election Night the question was if diversity would be maintained on City Council with Councilman Earl Sheridan, council’s lone African-American member, not seeking reelection. If Barnett is certified the winner during the canvass later this month, council will continue to have a minority voice.
Barnett, a minister, says his main goal going into his term on city council is to work on workforce housing, as well as maintaining that everybody gets their representation on city council. He said is humbled by this election.
“The city definitely needs diversity on the board,” Barnett said. “But also I think winning means that we want to serve the community. We want our city to be a better place. We want to make sure everyone gets an equal share from the pie. We want to do a lot of things that’s going to help to make our city a better place to live.”
The new council will be sworn in next month.
The current city council gets back to work tonight at 6:30, when they will discuss a joint opioid resolution with New Hanover County.