There are three Durham City Council seats up for grabs in the local election, and the upcoming primary will filter the field of candidates down for the Nov. 7 general election.

In Durham’s non-partisan primary system, the two candidates with the most votes in each race after the primaries Oct. 10 will move on to the general election. Early voting is already underway, with the polling site for Duke’s campus by the Patterson Recreation Center on Crest Street.

City members can vote for candidates across all wards. 

Ward 1

Brian Callaway

Callaway serves as the coordinator of energy and sustainability for Durham Public Schools. His website notes that he has a background in engineering and city planning and plans to prioritize housing, tax reform and law enforcement reform if elected.

Cora Cole-McFadden 

An incumbent elected to the council in 2001, McFadden currently serves as Mayor Pro Tempore.  She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and has served the Durham city government in various social work and equity assistance roles. Her re-election Facebook page notes that she has experienced success in working on youth issues, having created the city’s first youth council.  

DeDreanna Freeman

Freeman currently serves as special assistant to the president for East Durham Children’s Initiative—a nonprofit focused on college and career access—and is an M.P.A. student at North Carolina Central University. A resident of the Golden Belt neighborhood, she co-founded the Durham Equitable Economic Partnership, which focuses on creating affordable housing in minority communities.  

John Tarantino

A former school teacher and Army National Guard retiree, Tarantino has a history of running for office. He was also a candidate for city council in 2015 and ran for senator in the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010.  

Ward 2

LeVon Barnes

Barnes is a teacher at the School for Creative Studies and the Durham Democratic Party precinct chair. His campaign focuses on leveraging the City Council to improve the welfare of Durham’s youth, with his campaign’s Facebook page noting the potential impact of young people brought to the table. In addition to having taught in the city's public schools for 13 years, Barnes founded the Young Male Achievers Program to teach about civic duty.

Robert Fluet

Although initially trained in education, Fluet is now the director of client engagement at Client Savvy. He is running a self-funded campaign, and his website asks supporters to donate to a local charity rather than to his campaign. Having moved from Massachusetts to Durham in 2009, Fluet said that raising his young daughters in Durham has made it feel like home. His campaign website notes that he values data analysis, in addition to inclusion and respecting the values of others.  

Deanna Hall

Hall is an Interplan administrator at Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina. Her campaign motto is “Moving Our City Forward," with her campaign Facebook page noting that she hopes to be a bridge between city leaders and residents.

Mark-Anthony Middleton

Middleton is a pastor and radio talk show host who has been involved with community activism in Durham, focusing specifically on higher wages for Duke University employees. His campaign website notes that he plans to focus on affordable housing, police reform and better transportation if elected.

Dolly Reaves

A former homeless single mother, Reaves has experience working for Women, Infants, and Children as a breastfeeding peer counselor. Her campaign website notes four issues of focus: poverty, environment, affordable housing and education.  

John Rooks Jr.

Rooks serves on the boards of two organizations: Love over Hate N.C. and R.E.A.L. Kids United, a youth development organization. His slogan, “committed-transparent,” represents his intent to address issues of crime, affordable housing and economic development if elected.

Ward 3

Vernetta Alston

Having graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School in 2009, Alston has a background in death penalty litigation. She has served on the Board of the Durham People’s Alliance since 2016 and the Durham Citizen’s Advisory Committee since 2015. Alston notes some of the most important issues in her campaign to include policing, economic development, affordable housing and supporting immigrant and LGBTQ communities.

Sheila Ann Huggins

Huggins is an attorney who notes the issues she cares about the most to include economic inequality and job creation, equitable development, compassionate governance and community budgeting. She has a wide range of experience in office, ranging from her current role as a member of the Democratic National Committee to her prior experience on the Democratic Party State Executive Committee.

Lenny Kovalick

Kovalick is a pediatric nurse practitioner at the UNC Department of Pediatrics and is a member of the city's appearance commission. He noted in an interview with the Durham Herald-Sun that his primary goal is "to give back to my community and help make decision that [he feels] are best for all residents of Durham."

Don Moffitt

Moffit, who works at the CDS Consulting Co-op, is an incumbent, having served on the council since 2013. He is the former chair of the Durham City-County Planning Commission.