Kelley leads Wilmington mayoral race in new poll

Seven of the eight Democrats running for Wilmington mayor at a debate in May. Those candidates include (from left) Maria Cabrera

Seven of the eight Democrats running for Wilmington mayor at a debate in May. Those candidates include (from left) Maria Cabrera

A University of Delaware poll commissioned by the News Journal shows former city councilman Kevin Kelley in the lead of a crowded field for Wilmington mayor.

The telephone poll surveyed 284 Wilmington residents who identified themselves as likely voters in the September Democratic primary. Kevin Kelley led the field with 18 percent, just ahead of former Riverfront Development Corp. Executive Director Mike Purzycki, who got 14 percent. Incumbent Mayor Dennis Williams placed third in the poll with 13 percent.

Further down in the poll is City Council President Theo Gregory with 11 percent, Eugene Young with 9 percent, and former City Council President Norm Griffiths with 8 percent. Councilwoman Maria Cabrera and State Senator Bob Marshall bring up the rear of the field with 2 percent each.

The contest is still far from over with 21 percent of those polled still not sure who they will vote for. The poll has a margin of error of ±5.8 percentage points.

The candidates will gather for another debate next Tuesday, July 19 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. That debate, sponsored by WHYY and the News Journal, will focus on quality of life issues in Wilmington. While Mayor Williams is not expected to attend, it will give a chance for other candidates performing lower in the poll to increase their support.

The Democratic primary vote will be held Tuesday, Sept. 13. With no Republicans in the running, the winner of the primary will be Wilmington’s next mayor.

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