By Melanie Dzwonchyk and Joe Murchison

City Councilman Keith Sydnor was elected unofficially as Laurel’s mayor Tuesday, coming out on top of a field of five candidates. Mail-in votes still need to be counted, and a special council meeting will be held Thursday to announce the official results.

Keith Sydnor
Courtesy of Keith Sydnor

A  20-year Laurel resident, Sydnor, 55, has represented Ward 2 on the council since 2017. He had careers in the U.S. Navy and Reserves and in state and federal justice systems as a correctional officer, and has worked as a substitute teacher for Prince George’s County schools since 2020. As council president, he helped the city navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, championing affordable housing.

With his election, Sydnor becomes the first African American to serve as Laurel’s mayor. He is Laurel’s first new mayor in 21 years, after current Mayor Craig Moe did not seek re-election.

 “I’m overwhelmed, excited,” Sydnor said Tuesday night. “I want to thank the citizens of Laurel for voting for me and trusting me to be the leader of their city.”  

Unofficial results Tuesday also had incumbents Carl DeWalt and James Kohl re-elected in Ward 1, and council newcomers Kyla Clark and Jeffrey Mills winning seats in Ward 2. Christine Johnson was the unofficial winner in the race for the at-large council seat.