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Durham Mayoral Race Decided With Bell As Winner

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DURHAM — Durham voters learned Friday that challenger Bill Bell is the winner of the city's mayoral election.

The Durham County Board of Elections announced that after a count of provisional ballots, Bell received 16,475 votes or 50.64 percent of the total vote. Incumbent Nick Tennyson received 15,940 votes or 48.99 percent of the total vote.

After Tuesday's election, Bell led the race for mayor with 366 more votes than Tennyson. Provisional ballots put Bell over the top with a final lead of 535 votes.

"[I'm] glad to get this last piece over in terms of the certification," Bell said.

Tennyson conceded the race Friday morning, blaming himself for losing.

"This morning, I called Bill Bell to congratulate him on his election as the mayor of Durham," said Tennyson. "It's small comfort to know that it took an extraordinary effort on the part of a 26-year veteran and unique external involvement to ease me into retirement.

"Losing is still losing and I accept full responsibility for failing to get the job done for the almost 16,000 voters who showed up on Nov. 6 to vote for me," he said.

Mayor-elect Bell said he will not put his priorities for his first term in any particular order, but making the city more inclusive is on the list.

"In terms of services, employment, contracts, where we grow in the community, how we grow in the community," he said.

Bell said the city must clean up the roughest neighborhoods.

"Trying to get more of a police presence in those neighborhoods, trying to work more cooperatively with the Sheriff of Durham to try to see how they can fit into this plan," he said.

Tennyson remains in office until December 3.

The Durham Board of Elections said it did not have any equipment malfunctions or recieve any allegations of wrongdoing during the election.

State law allows a recount when the difference between candidates is one percent, however neither candidate asked for a recount.

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