Political leaders respond to Wilmington City Council election results

While the city council election is non-partisan, all three winning candidates were endorsed by the Democratic party.
Published: Nov. 8, 2023 at 7:39 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Unofficial election results show David Joyner, Salette Andrews, and Incumbent Councilman Kevin Spears will win the three seats up for grabs in this year’s Wilmington City Council election.

All three are Democrats and endorsed by the New Hanover County Democratic Party. While city council elections are technically nonpartisan, Democratic Party Chairwoman Jill Hopman says her party’s endorsements paid off.

“This was the first time we had ever, in our history, did an endorsement process, a partywide endorsement process where we were only supporting three of four candidates,” said Hopman. “And it was controversial at first, I knew that not everybody would be happy about it. I did think it was important because we had cost ourselves seats in the past.”

Republican Councilman Neil Anderson, who will lose his seat if the results hold, believes many people voted based on party affiliation.

“Did most of the people that voted for the ones that won, did they do their homework? Did they really check into it? And they may have done it and find out ‘Oh, these are great candidates,’ but my point is, I just don’t think they did,” Anderson said. “Same could be said probably, you know, in some precincts, Republicans people took the sheet and voted for all three, but I just think you want the best candidates, not just ones that are red team, blue team.”

Anderson says council elections should be about people rather than party.

“I don’t know that people are voting for candidates anymore at the local level,” said Anderson. “I don’t think that’s good. I think that’s why it was designed to be unaffiliated. So, I think that’s kind of a big trend this time, more than I’ve seen ever before.”

Meanwhile, Hopman says the endorsement helped, but the Democrat-backed candidates made the difference.

“I think it was important to tell voters, particularly those who are less informed, these are the three people that we want you to vote for, and it led to less confusion and obviously, based on the results, I think that it helped us be successful,” Hopman said.

Click here to view the unofficial results of the 2023 municipal elections in southeastern North Carolina.