Ballot Breakdown: Niles mayoral race

Voters in the city of Niles will elect their first new mayor in 17 years on Election Day.

“Experience does play a big factor and it certainly will help me,” Niles mayoral candidate Bob Durm said.

“I don’t think you need political experience to be the leader of Niles,” Niles mayoral candidate Nick Shelton said.

There are two candidates on opposite ends of the spectrum in Niles.

Both hope to call city hall their office after November 8.

“I can step into the position naturally and there won’t be any learning curve for me,” Durm said.

Durm is what you might call the establishment candidate.

He’s been on the city council for 21 years, and mayor pro tem for 10 years.

He’s hoping his experience will appeal to voters.

“Who would know better than someone who has sat in the chair?” Durm said. “I’ve chaired meetings, I’ve spoken at public events, I’ve given the key to the city to dignitaries. I’ve really done everything that the mayor has to do.”

“I’m really excited to bring a fresh perspective to our long, tenured council,” Shelton said.

Shelton is the unlikely rising star.

He has no political experience, but he’s well known in Niles as an employee of his family’s longtime business, Shelton’s Farm Market.

He’s hoping voters will be drawn to a fresh face with new ideas.

“We’ve got a lot of great council members who have lots of experience, who have been there a long time,” Shelton said. “And offering new ideas will breed innovation and it will breed creativity; and hopefully get us to some better solutions.”

When asked what qualities they think the mayor needs in order to be a successful leader, the candidates said the following:

Shelton: “I think you need to have love for your city. I think you need to have empathy. You need to be able to hear what citizens want. You need to listen to them. You need to have dialogue with them and you need to work hard.”

Durm: “The mayor needs to be that stabilizing figure. He’s kind of the go-between between citizens and the council...I think that experience is that stabilizing factor; that security.”

The winner of Election Day will be replacing the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history.

**In an effort to be transparent, ABC57 would like to note that Nick Shelton is the fiancé of our Saturday Kickoff Host Allison Hayes. 

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