Summey facing at least 2 rivals in N. Charleston mayor’s race

North Charleston City Hall

Charleston isn’t the only big city with a mayoral election this fall, and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey can expect at least two opponents as he seeks a seventh term.

Charleston County School Board member Chris Collins, a minister, opposed Summey in 2011 and said Tuesday he will run again this fall.

Meanwhile, businessman Clifford Smith II recently moved to the city’s Coosaw Creek neighborhood and has filed paperwork with the State Ethics Commission announcing he will run. He spent $2,273 on his announcement party last month.

Smith has worked in government contracting and construction for 25 years, according to his Small Business Group Inc., website.

Summey said Tuesday he welcomed all opponents to the race: “The more the merrier.”

Collins said he has started “a low-scale campaign,” mostly by word of mouth.

“I would be a mayor for all people — not just for the rich or upper and middle class,” he said. “I’d represent the entire city and have development throughout the entire city, from the southern end to the northern end.”

Summey defeated Collins by a 78-22 margin four years ago, and Collins said he planned to run a much-improved campaign this time around.

“He’s not easy to defeat,” Collins said of Summey. “He has been in that seat a long time.”

Summey said he had heard that Collins might try again, but he said he has not met Smith and said his campaign “sort of came out the blue because he’s fairly new to the area. I’d like to hear what his ideas are.” Smith did not return phone messages left Tuesday afternoon.

Summey first was elected mayor in 1994, filling an unexpired term. He was re-elected later to five full terms.

North Charleston’s mayoral and council elections will be held on Nov. 3, the same day Charleston voters choose a successor to longtime Mayor Joe Riley.

Unlike Charleston, which will have a mayoral runoff if no one gets more than 50 percent in that election, the winner in North Charleston will be whoever gets the most votes on Nov. 3. All races are nonpartisan.

Summey said he will be running on the record he has compiled since he was first elected in 1994.

“I think we’ve done an astonishing job to bring the city where it is today,” he said. “I’d like to serve longer, but at the end of the day, that’s up to the voting public.”

Summey already has raised $75,000 during the last three months and has $129,379 in his war chest — more than he spent in his 2011 re-election campaign against Collins.

Collins said he has not begun fundraising.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.