Use The N&O | Herald-Sun Voter Guide to research candidates running in Durham elections

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Welcome to The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun’s Voter Guide for the 2021 Durham elections.

We have reached out to all of the candidates running for mayor and City Council and asked them to complete a candidate questionnaire.

This election features seven candidates for mayor who are trying to succeed Steve Schewel, who is not seeking a third term. The top two finishers in the Oct. 5 primary will face each other in the Nov. 2 general election.

There are also contested races for Wards 1, 2 and 3, with the top two finishers in each race moving on to the November election.

There are three candidates in Ward 1, after candidate Elizabeth Takla withdrew. There also are three candidates in Ward 2.

In Ward 3, the only two candidates who filed will automatically proceed to the November contest. Pierce Freelon, who was appointed to fill the seat when Vernetta Alston moved to the legislature, chose not to run for election.

The names of candidates who responded to our questionnaire are hyperlinked below so that N&O and Herald-Sun subscribers can read their answers to our questions about public safety, their top priorities and what life skills and experience make them the candidate to vote for.

The early voting period runs from April 16 to Oct. 2.

The voter registration deadline for the Oct. 5 primary has passed. The deadline to register for the Nov. 2 election is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8.

Requests to vote by mail must be received by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, for the primary and by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, for the general election.

If you have any questions or comments about this list, please contact Durham reporter Penelope Blackwell at

The candidates are listed in alphabetical order


Rebecca Harvard Barnes

Charlitta Burruss

Sabrina “Bree” Davis

Javiera Caballero

Jahnmaud Lane

Elaine O’Neal

Daryl Quick


Waldo Fenner

DeDreana Freeman*

Marion Johnson

* incumbent


Robert Curtis

Mark-Anthony Middleton*

Sylvester Williams



Alele “AJ” Williams

Leonardo Williams

The Durham Report

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