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Top Vote-getter Reacts To Wilmington City Council Election Results

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Nov 8, 2023
David Joyner
This year’s city of Wilmington elections launched three Democratic city council candidates into potential seats after votes were recorded Tuesday night.

Residents lined up at polling locations to choose from seven Wilmington City Council candidates: Neil Anderson, Salette Andrews, Kathryn Bruner, Marlowe Foster, David Joyner, John D. Lennon and Kevin Spears. 

The results show political newcomer David Joyner gaining the most votes in the county with 8,538 votes (17.41%) followed by Salette Andrews with 8,099 votes (16.51%) and one of two incumbents in the race, Kevin Spears, with 7,982 votes (16.27%). 

Election results will not be final until the county canvass Nov. 17. 

Joyner, who works as the assistant district attorney for New Hanover County, said he and his team were pleasantly surprised as to how well the election went in his favor, as this was his first time running for a political seat. 

“We were feeling good heading into Election Day and (have) been working hard since April, back when I announced,” he said. 

Although results are not finalized, he said he is secure in his position because he received enough of a lead that he would not be affected by a potential recount.

Andrews expressed her graditute for voters and her campaign volunteers in a written statement to the Business Journal.

"This was a collective effort of many people from all walks of life who shared their concerns and hopes for Wilmington," she said. "I will work tirelessly to balance environmental protection, community safety, housing affordability, and infrastructure to benefit all Wilmingtonians."

As for Joyner's plans for Wilmington now that he is preparing for a seat on the council, he said matching people with jobs in Wilmington is a priority. His work for the community recovery and veteran’s treatment courts showed him that there is more than enough jobs in Wilmington to meet demand, he said. This includes those looking for work with felonies and pending charges on their record, he said. 

What’s next is making sure Wilmington’s jobs are high-paying and taking advantage of the city’s green and blue economies, he said. 

As stated in his Q&A with the Business Journal, both of Joyner’s grandfathers founded small businesses, so Joyner said he wants to make sure small businesses remain and grow in Wilmington. 

An industry Joyner said he wanted to bolster in Wilmington’s economy was film, he told the Business Journal in October. 

He said although the council doesn’t have a role in strike negotiations, he gives his support to SAG-AFTRA, which is the actors' union currently striking for appropriate wages in the film industry. He said he hopes the strike will come to an end through agreements between the union and film executives so Wilmington’s film industry can get back on track.

Joyner said he has received texts of congratulations from other members of the council and is planning on meeting with everyone to make introductions, he said. 

Joyner expressed his gratitude for both the voters who supported him in this election and to those who didn’t vote for him as well. 

“I'm making sure that (voters) know that I'm going to show up for every single person who lives in Wilmington, whether they supported me or not,” he said. “I'm going to strive to be a city council member that will earn their vote next time.”

Kevin Spears did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication. 
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