CoastLine: Wilmington Mayoral Candidate Interviews 2019

Oct 25, 2019

The City of Wilmington boasts a population of around 122,600 people.   That’s a U.S. Census Bureau estimate for 2018.  But the largest municipality in New Hanover County is still expected to grow over the next quarter century, and planning officials project a population spike of about 57,000 more people by 2040.  That’s only 21 years out.   In New Hanover County, the current population is 237,689.  By 2038 – 315,475.  That’s county growth of about 33%. 

Demographers with the University of North Carolina say Navassa and Leland are the top two fastest-growing municipalities in the state when measured by percentage of growth.  These are suburbs of Wilmington and will, inevitably, affect the port city.  

Candidates:  

Bill Saffo first won a seat on Wilmington’s City Council in 2003.  After he won appointment to the mayoral seat to finish out the term of Spence Broadhurst in 2006, Mayor Saffo went on to win re-election six times.  He boasted a smaller margin of victory in 2009 – winning just 61% of the vote, but in later elections Bill Saffo won 71%, 92%, 95%, 85%.  That’s chronological order.   If he wins and completes a seventh term, he will have logged fifteen years as Mayor and four years as a City Council member – nearly two decades in Wilmington City government.

Devon Scott has served on the Board of the Cape Fear Economic Development Council.   He says he founded a tech consultancy and helps business startups make digital technology decisions.  He was a speaker at TEDxAirlie, and he founded Eidolon Institute, an agency that helps regional start-ups.  He says he works with local organizations to help promote economic development throughout the region.