Former judge, city council member to face off in Durham mayoral race in November

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Two women will face off in the Durham mayor election in November.

Retired superior court judge Elaine O’Neal and city council member Javiera Caballero both received the most votes in the primary election Tuesday out of the seven candidates who ran.

O’Neal won with 68 percent of the votes and Caballero won with 25 percent of the votes.

CBS 17 spoke with several voters at the polls on Tuesday to find out what the biggest issue is they would like to see the next mayor tackle.

One of those issues is the problem with gun violence, as more than 200 people have been shot so far this year.

“Why is there so much crime, what can we do about it?” said Peggy Duncan, a voter from Durham.

CBS 17 took those concerns to these two mayoral candidates.

O’Neal, who was a judge for 24 years, said one of her plans to address is the gun violence is to have conversations with those who are behind it.

“A lot of the people who engage in those activities, I know them,” O’Neal said. “We need to get those young people to understand that there is another way, that we don’t have to kill each other in order to resolve our differences.”

Caballero said she thinks there needs to be stricter gun laws in the state to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

“We don’t have enough preventative measures in place,” Caballero said.

She also said the creation of the city of Durham’s community safety department, where they would send unarmed responders to mental health calls, will allow police officers to focus more on violent crime.

“We need to broaden what it actually means when we talk about community safe,” Caballero said. “I’m looking at it at a more holistic and comprehensive view. If we don’t make those shifts, I think we’re going to continue to see the gun violence.”

O’Neal and Caballero will face off in the election on Nov. 2.

This will be only the second time Durham has elected a female mayor.

The first female mayor was Sylvia Kerckhoff who was elected in 1993 and served two terms.

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