North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey continues his reign after being elected to a seventh term as the city's leader, according to unofficial results.
"God has blessed us with four more years," Summey said Tuesday before a crowd of supporters in Park Circle. "We're not going to slow down."
Challenger John Singletary refused to concede to the results, claiming that the mayor's campaign engaged in voter suppression. Singletary said he received reports from voters stating that the challenger's name was not on ballots, and some North Charleston voters were only able to vote for the county referendum, and not for the mayor.
Singletary threatened protests and legal action.
"When you have a situation where you know down right cheating has been going on, I can't concede to that until that’s been resolved," he said.
According to unofficial results, Summey sealed 43 percent of the vote, followed by Singletary, who came in second with 38 percent. Thomas Dixon had 11 percent, Ashley Peele had 7 percent, and Floyd Dotter had 1 percent.
Summey, who cruised to victory in 2015, said this year's race was "probably the toughest race we've ever had."
With four more years on tap for his 25-year mayoral reign, Summey has said he'd like to hang it up after this term, barring the completion of a handful of projects to include the aquatics center, two senior centers, and a gym that will be built with mitigation funds from the State Ports Authority.
The mayor said the city is working on ways to create more affordable housing as rent prices rise in low-income neighborhoods.
On Tuesday, he noted the city's high crime, which is a result of the lack of parental involvement in children's lives, Summey said.
"I want to work with churches and anybody else to help us heal some of that," he said.
The election was viewed by many voters as a referendum on the incumbent, with his supporters pointing to the mayor's proven ability to redevelop formerly blighted corridors and recruit major businesses that have created jobs and helped North Charleston become the top municipality in gross retail sales.
However, Summey's challengers and several residents have cited the city's crime and the lack of progress in poorer neighborhoods as a signal that it's time for change.
Additionally, all 10 council races were up for reelection. In unofficial results, the winners were: incumbents Michael Brown (District 1), Rhonda Jerome (District 2), Virginia Jamison (District 3), Ron Brinson (District 4), Dorothy Williams (District 6), Sam Hart (District 7), Bob King (District 8), Kenny Skipper (District 9), and Michael A. Brown (District 10).
Brown (District 1) and Jerome (District 2) were unopposed.
Jerome Heyward (District 5) is the sole newcomer, ousting incumbent Todd Olds in a race that involved controversy over Heyward's residency.