New sheriff in town in Delaware’s largest city

Dennis Williams easily won the Democratic primary for Mayor of Wilmington with 38.5% of the vote in a five way race.

Williams won 4,244 votes, more than 1,100 votes more than his nearest competitor Kevin Kelley.  He told supporters, “It’s time for change in this city.”He said he would keep his promise to make Wilmington a safer place.  “I am going to come after violent offenders, so start packing your bags, because we’re coming.

Mayor-elect Williams now has several months to prepare to take the reigns from three term Mayor James Baker.  That’s because the lone Republican in the race, Kevin Melloy, had his name removed from the ballot last week after failing to pay his filing fee with the Delaware GOP.  Melloy has said he’ll mount a write-in campaign, but after handily winning the Democratic primary, Williams is the likely next mayor.i Williams says now that the election is over, the real work begins.  “I promise you one thing, give me six months, and this city is going to begin to be safe.”

Fellow Democrat Kevin Kelly came in second place with 28.5% of the vote.  He says, “Now it’s time to support Mr. Williams.”  He says that’s what Democrats do.  “When somebody wins, you stick by them and let them move on the next four years.  Hopefully he’ll take some of our ideas from the campaign about what we needed to make this city great.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Former Chief of Staff for the current administration Bill Montgomery came in third place with 20.8% of the vote.  He says he’s not done trying to improve Wilmington.  “There is a lot of good positive energy in this city, there’s a whole lot of it in this room.   I will continue to work hard for this city as I always have my whole career.”  

For bail bondsman Robert Bovell, his third attempt to run for city’s highest office was not a charm.  He finished with just 9.3 of the vote.

Coming in last place was Scott Spencer.  The transit consultant finished a distant last with just 2.9% of the vote.


Tune in to WHYY Wednesday night at 5:30 for a special Primary Election edition of First with reactions from the winners and losers, plus commentary and analysis from guests including Mayor Baker and WDEL’s Allan Loudell.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal