The Mayoral Run-Off Race Is Set!

Who will be Durham’s next mayor?

We now have two clear candidates: Farad Ali and Steve Schewel.


Yesterday, Tuesday, October 10th, the primary election for Durham mayoral candidates was held.

With 100% of the precincts reporting, Schewel notched 12,931 (51.2%) of the votes to Ali’s 7,357 (29.1%).

The race was never close. From the start, Schewel had a large lead and never looked back.


The election results are as follows (per the Herald Sun): 


Steve Schewel: 12,931 votes – 51.2%

Farad Ali: 7,357 votes – 29.1%

Pierce Freelon: 4,006 votes – 15.9%

Sylvester Williams: 333 votes – 1.3%

Shea Ramirez: 285 votes – 1.1%

Tracy Drinker: 246 votes – 1.0%

Others: 0.4%


Pierce Freelon, an advocate for the change in the status quo of the City Council, had gained momentum in the weeks leading up the election, but it wasn’t enough.

It is worth noting that Pierce was the youngest candidate at 33 years of age and appears to have a very bright political future ahead of him.


It is also worth noting that this election was the most expensive Durham mayoral race ever.

As of September 25th, the three major candidates, Ali, Freelon, and Schewel, had raised as follows (per the Indy Week):


Ali: $132,000

Freelon: $105,000

Schewel: $92,000


Schewel has pledged that 75% of the money he raises will be through donations in Durham, but this is not the case for the others. It makes one wonder where Ali and Freelon got the majority of their money….. Especially Ali who has so many connections to Raleigh and the financial sector. Could outside-of-Durham special interests be a factor if Ali were to be elected?

Interestingly, the two winner of the primary, Ali and Schewel, are the candidates of choice of the two biggest political action committees in Durham. Ali is endorsed by the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and Schewel is endorsed by the People’s Alliance of Durham.

Furthermore, in every single municipal race, mayoral and three council seats, this year, the two winners had either an endorsement from the The Committee or People’s Alliance for their race.

What does this mean for Durham? Is it a concern that every year a candidate with the backing of either of the PACs is the winner of the election? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Ali and Schewel will now compete for the position of mayor in the coming weeks.

For now, the race looks to be Schewel’s to lose.

However, there are still four long weeks until the general election that is to be held on Tuesday, November 7th. 

This is life, this is Durham, this is America, and anything can happen.




About Ray Palma 12 Articles
Hi, I'm Raymond T. Palma, and I am currently a Junior at Riverside High School in Durham, North Carolina. My email is


  1. It is an exciting race between Ali and Schewel! I can’t wait to see how voter turnout will affect the general election.

  2. I’m pretty surprised about how many votes Steve Schewel got. I really thought it would be closer than that….

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