Saffo beats out Harper in unofficial results for Wilmington mayor

The vote totals are unofficial until they are canvassed by county elections officials
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 11:41 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 10:21 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Longtime Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo won reelection again, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.

Saffo garnered 63.38 of the vote against challenger Harper Peterson.

The vote totals are unofficial until they are canvassed by county elections officials.

Saffo is now the longest serving mayor in Wilmington’s history. The local real estate agent was born and raised here by first generation Americans, and started his political career as a city councilman in 2003. In 2007, Saffo was appointed to serve as Wilmington mayor, and he’s won six straight elections in the years that followed to keep that seat. Tuesday’s victory would make it seven straight.

Peterson, a local business owner, served as Mayor of Wilmington from 2001 to 2003, after spending a number of years on Wilmington City Council. He’s run for mayor three times since then, losing to Spence Broadhurst in 2003 and 2005 and then to Saffo in 2007. But Peterson served on a much larger platform recently, as a State Senator. He unseated Sen. Michael Lee in 2018, only to have Lee take that seat back the next election. Both elections were extremely close.

The mayor’s race is non-partisan, but it’s worth noting that Saffo and Peterson are both Democrats who share some of the same support base. Peterson has been characterized as the more progressive candidate of the two, with Saffo considered to be more moderate.

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