Mayor Saffo defeats challenger Paul Knight

Earl Sheridan
Earl Sheridan
Kevin O'Grady
Kevin O'Grady

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Mayor Bill Saffo won more than sixty percent of the vote on his way to re-election Tuesday night in Wilmington.  The mayor says voters responded to the work he and council have completed on the parks among other projects since he took office.

"We moved forward with a lot of the initiatives that voters voted for in 2006," Mayor Bill Saffo said.

Paul Knight, who grabbed just under 40% of the vote, says voter low turnout was discouraging.

"I believe the voters don't care anymore," Paul Knight said of the turnout, which was under 20% in New Hanover County.  "That's a pathetic number."

With the election behind him, Mayor Saffo is already preparing to get back to work in City Hall and finish projects like the convention center hotel and the skyway bridge.  He said it is his job as mayor to motivate city council once they prioritize what they think is most important for the community.

Saffo also added that he's tried to be a mayor to all the people in the area by getting involved.

"I go to a lot of different functions in the community," said Saffo.  "I see a lot of different people and you know, I felt that if you're going to be the representative of this city, you need to be representative of all the people, not just some of the people."

Eleven candidates battled it out for Wilmington City Council, but only three could make the cut.  Charlie Rivenbark and Earl Sheridan were neck and neck, both winning a little over 13% of the vote, followed by Kevin O'Grady with 11.5%.

O'Grady originally entered his name to replace councilman Jason Thompson, who won a county commission seat in November 2008.  O'Grady says he started campaigning around Labor Day and felt like voters chose him because of his honest approach to the issues.

"We worked very hard - we started early. We did everything we had to do," said O'Grady.  "We were always prepared and I think we really ran a good campaign. The second thing is, I think we dealt with the issues. We put out our issue positions, we stuck with them, because it's what I really believe."

Sheridan was the only incumbent Wilmington City Councilman to retain his seat this election cycle.  He is a political science professor at UNCW and has served on council since 2005.  Sheridan believes his record on city council is what convinced voters to re-elect him.

"I hope and I think that the citizens of Wilmington had faith in my leadership and faith that I would be someone that will look at issues, and reflect on them and make decisions that are in the best interest of the city," said Sheridan.

He says the city council should focus on growth and job creation over the next four years.

*Winners are in bold

Wilmington - Mayor
Bill Saffo (I)
Paul Knight

Wilmington - City Council  (Vote for 3)
Margaret Haynes (I) 
Michael DeHart              
Ben McCoy                        
Kevin O'Grady               
Jim Quinn (I)         
Charlie Rivenbark   
Earl Sheridan (I)                               
Justin LaNasa                    
Dana Page                          
Susan Clarke                     
Ricky Meeks

Carolina Beach - Town Council (Vote for 2)
Robert Lewis
Alicia Lachance
Alan Gilbert (I)           
Lonnie Lashley

Kure Beach - Mayor
Dean Lambeth
Jim Vatrt

Kure Beach - Town Council (Vote for 2)
Craig Scott Galbraith 
Chuck Keener                
Tim Fuller

Wrightsville Beach - Mayor
David Cignotti
Stephen Whalen (I)

Wrightsville Beach - Board of Alderman (Vote for 2)
Walter DeVries           
Susan Howell Collins   
Ed Miastkowski            
Bill Sisson                       
James Smith

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