WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Longtime Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo faced a tight race on Tuesday night, but in the end, edged out newcomer Devon Scott to keep his seat.
Saffo, who was appointed mayor in 2006, is the longest serving mayor in Wilmington’s history. His 2017 win broke the record of Walter H. Blair, who served for 11 years from 1926 to 1937.
Bill Saffo received 7,709 votes, which is only 630 more votes than Scott’s 7,079 votes.
“It was closer than a lot of people expected, but I will tell you since I’ve been campaigning, I could sense there was some frustration in the community in regards to growth, in regards to affordable housing, in regards to the infrastructure that we’re dealing with in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence,” Mayor Saffo said of his victory. “There’s a lot of challenges that we as a council are going to be dealing with in the next couple of years.”
Saffo acknowledged the momentum his opponent was able to gain leading up to the race.
“I think he ran a very good and effective campaign, he brought a lot of issues to the table, and we’ll be addressing them and talking about them,” Saffo said.
Just a handful of votes separate the third and fourth place candidates for Wilmington City Council.
Margaret Haynes will keep her seat, coming in as the top vote-getter with 6,549 votes. Newcomer Kevin Spears received the second highest number of votes with 5,703. Incumbent Neil Anderson received 5,441 votes, just six more than incumbent Paul Lawler.
“I know Kevin, I’ve known him for a long time as an advocate for the community,” Saffo said of Spears. “I know he believes about improving the quality of life for a lot of people in this community, and I think he’ll do a very good job.”
These votes are not official until the votes are canvassed.