DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham has a new mayor.

Current Durham City Councilmember Leonardo Williams will be the Bull City’s next mayor, beating State Senator Mike Woodard.

Williams said his top priority when taking office is addressing the culture on the City Council.

“We’re going to be functioning, we have to be functioning,” said Williams. “There are a lot of folks that are out crying about a lot of issues in our community, and if we aren’t, you know, positioned to address those it’s going to be chaos.”

CBS 17 asked Williams what he feels is not working currently that he could change by moving from a councilmember to mayor.

“It’s really not about, you know, it’s not a magic wand or anything, It’s just about communication,” Williams said. “I take being a part of this council with pride, you know, because I know where we are and I know where we need to go. So the reason why I’m in this position right now is because I felt that I could actually lead us there.”

CBS 17 asked Williams what he’ll do to address crime and gun violence in Durham. On election night, Durham Police investigated a triple shooting less than five minutes away from Williams’ watch party.

“I plan to shepherd a communal, collaborative approach and holistic governance,” Williams said. “Crime is an outcry to a broken system, so in order to address that, I have to fix the system.”

Williams said growth is inevitable, but what he plans to focus on is how the city grows.

“I talk about affordable living often,” said Williams. “Affordable living, meaning identifying transit corridors, building diverse housing options along those corridors, increasing  supply, making sure that we’re building the missing middle housing, making sure that we’re building housing that meet more people where they are.”

Williams received 63.47% of the vote and Woodard received 36.19%. Woodard said he’s proud of the message of his campaign.



“I think we raised good issues, particularly around making sure that we had good, efficient government, that we’re paying our employees well,” Woodard said.

Woodard will remain a state senator, his district includes parts of Durham County. He said he anticipates running for re-election for that seat in 2024.

Three at-large City Council seats were also up for grabs in Durham. The seats will be filled by incumbent Javiera Caballero and newcomers Nate Baker and Carl Rist.