Summey takes N. Charleston by 2-to-1 vote

Poll Manager Lakesha Hicks (left) checks in North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and his wife, Deborah, as they vote at Felix Pinckney Community Center Tuesday morning.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey cruised to a sixth term of office Tuesday and promised to continue moving the city forward.

“Those that are naysayers, get the hell out the way,” Summey told cheering supporters at his victory party.

In unofficial results, Summey received 62 percent of the vote to Singletary’s 32 percent. Challenger Chris Collins had 4 percent and Clifford Smith had 2 percent.

“We were hoping to get between 50 and 60 percent,” Summey said.

“I thought the other vote would have been spread out a little bit more. Looks like (Singletary) picked up the votes that were there the last time for Collins.”

Collins, a Charleston County School Board member, also ran against Summey in 2011, garnering 22 percent of the vote to Summey’s 78 percent.

Despite rainy weather, voter turnout was typical for North Charleston, with about 20 percent of the registered voters casting ballots.

Singletary’s campaign included a strong push for residents to get out to vote, and supporters offered voters rides to the polls.

Singletary pointed out that Summey often won elections with as little as 6,000 votes out of the city’s 54,000 voters.

“We’ve made history already with the kind of turnout that’s happened,” Singletary told a local TV station Tuesday afternoon.

He did not return calls for comment Tuesday night.

Singletary was Summey’s most aggressive challenger, launching an organized campaign that examined the mayor’s record in office and accusing the city’s leader of giving political favors to family and friends.

“They organized, and they got some people to turn out,” Summey said.

“But it was the meanness that really bothered me and I will tell you that I won’t soon forget it.

“I don’t mind the vote. It’s the attitude and negativism and racism. I didn’t play his game with him. I could have, but I didn’t and I won’t.”

Summey, who has been mayor of the state’s third largest city for 21 years, said from the beginning he was not campaigning against his challengers, but was instead running for the job.

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In addition, all 10 council seats also were up for grabs in the nonpartisan election.

Only District 4 Councilman Ron Brinson had no opposition.

In unofficial results, seven incumbents in addition to Brinson were returned to office. District 1 Councilman Ed Astle was the only incumbent not re-elected.

District 3 representative Bobby Jameson did not seek re-election and District 9 Councilman Dwight Stigler moved out of state in September.

Winners, in unofficial results, appeared to be: incumbents Rhonda Jerome (District 2), Todd Olds (District 5), Dorothy Williams (District 6), Sam Hart (District 7), Bob King (District 8) and Michael A. Brown (District 10). They will be joined by newcomers Michael Brown (District 1, no relation to District 10), Virginia Jamison (District 3) and Kenny Skipper (District 9).

Skipper lost a tight race with Stigler in 2011, receiving 49 percent of the vote to Stigler’s 51 percent.

There were no major hitches for voters in the city, which straddles the Charleston-Dorchester county line, election officials said.

Some Dorchester County residents were not clear whether they lived within the city limits, but anyone who believed they were within the limits was able to cast a paper ballot and the issue will be resolved on Thursday.

Reach Brenda Rindge at (843) 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.

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