Charleston City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie formally entered the 2015 race for mayor Friday, becoming the fifth announced hopeful to succeed 40-year incumbent Joe Riley. He is the first minority in the field.
“Protecting the brand called ‘Charleston,’ for me, is the No. 1 priority,” he said following his announcement inside City Hall Chambers.
Gregorie, who is black, is making his third bid for the mayor’s job after two previous long-shot runs against Riley, in 2007 and 2011.
He said this year is different because Riley is not in the race, meaning it will be a more open and competitive field that should draw wider interest.
“It should engage this city,” he said.
Gregorie has served on council since 2009 representing District 6, which covers parts of downtown and James Island. He previously worked as state director for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Renewal.
“Through a more hopeful brand of politics, we can advance sustained urban growth with livability and affordability at its core,” Gregorie said. He added, “Folks say ‘the third time’s a charm.’ We’re going to test it.”
Other candidates who have formally announced bids include former Councilman Henry Fishburne, businessman John Tecklenburg, restaurateur Dick Elliott and lawyer and former Councilman Paul Tinkler. All are white males.
How the minority vote will break in the 2015 race has been a topic of widespread interest and speculation that likely won’t come into better view until the field is set. The official filing period doesn’t formally open until later this summer.
Figures supplied by the Charleston County voting office on Friday put the racial breakdown of registered city voters at about 20,350 blacks and 71,380 whites.
About 35 supporters attended the event. The election is in November.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.