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Election 2017: Mayor of Wilmington

There are two candidates for Mayor of Wilmington this election season. The Mayor presides over a nonpartisan council of five members and a Mayor Pro Tem. The two candidates in the race for mayor this year are incumbent Bill Saffo and challenger Todd Zola.

Bill Saffo has won re-election as Mayor five times, and he is seeking his sixth term. With each election, his percentage of the vote has grown.

He says commonality and communication are key to his success.

“What I find is that most people -- no matter what their political stripe is or their ideologies -- have a lot of things in common. And I think that when people can talk to each other, and look at each other, and kind of work through their differences, people will come together and come to some sort of compromise and make things happen.”

For the first time since 2011, Mayor Saffo faces a challenger.

Todd Zola confirmed his appearance on WHQR’s Coastline Candidate Interviews -- then failed to show up.

In his YouTube campaign announcement, Zola speaks against the city’s taxation of private property.

“Do you believe they can tax it? You think they can tax it? Take that, go to court, fight against them taxing your car, your home. They don’t own it, they can’t tax it.”

Election Day is November 7.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.