Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols announced Wednesday night hes running for a fifth term.
The city hes served as mayor for 15 years has much excitement ahead, he told supporters at a campaign launch in the citys new Old Town Market Hall.
It really is a political campaign but I guess particularly because Ive had a number of years of experience now Ive never really tried to think about it in terms of politics as much as I have helping to build this community, Echols said.
Theres a great foundation thats been laid for us. It is such an exciting time for our community in so many different ways.
About 80 people attended the event Wednesday, the majority of whom were listed as Echols supporters.
The sponsor list included more than 60 people, among them were Clinton Junior College President Elaine Copeland; Winthrop University President Anthony DiGiorgio and his wife, Gale; local NAACP chapter President Melvin Poole; and former Rock Hill Mayor Betty Jo Rhea.
Current Rock Hill City Council members Kathy Pender and Osbey Roddey and former council members Susie Hinton and John Gettys are also supporting Echols re-election campaign.
Rock Hills local election will be held Oct. 15.
Filing for office opens July 17 and closes Aug. 16.
City Council representatives from Wards 4, 5 and 6 are also up for election.
Mayor Pro-Tem John Black holds the Ward 4 seat, representing most neighborhoods in the northwestern part of the city.
Roddey holds the Ward 5 seat, which includes many neighborhoods in the Albright Road and Saluda Street area of south Rock Hill.
Councilman Jim Reno holds the Ward 6 seat, representing the northern end of Cherry Road, the Fewell Park area and many neighborhoods along Charlotte Avenue, near Winthrop University.
Should a challenger announce a run against Echols, the contender would likely come from Ward 3, 4 or 6 the citys more conservative districts, said Rick Whisonant, political science professor at York Technical College.
But, competition is not likely, he said.
Echols has a pretty good cross-section of support and especially a huge amount of support in the Democratic wards, for sure, Whisonant said.
City campaign races are not partisan but everythings political, he said.
Should Echols need help financing his campaign, Whisonant said hed be shocked if the Democratic Party didnt answer the call, even though the city election ballot wont list a party beside any candidates name.
He supports, himself, a number of candidates. Yes, theyre going to be primarily, if not exclusively, Democratic, he said.
And in return, certainly, everyone in the Democratic Party knows quite well Doug Echols.
Pat Calkins, chairperson of the York County Democratic Party, attended Echols campaign launch Wednesday.
Partisan politics doesnt apply in local elections, she said.
What matters is what works and making progress toward being the kind of city we want to be, Calkins said.
Hes already taken us so far. I think he continues to have the vision we need for a prosperous future.
The future of Rock Hill, Echols said, is what inspired him to toss his name in the hat again for mayor.
Economic development downtown, the citys outdoor center and industrial business park at Riverwalk and the emerging Knowledge Park plan show the citys promise, he said.
And you couple that with what I consider to be a really good city management team, a city thats got a strong financial base, weve got wonderful public-private partnerships ... theres strong economic development efforts and interest in our city.
Momentum is there, he said, and he wants to be a part of it if the people of Rock Hill will so honor me once again to be a part of that effort.
Anna Douglas • 803-329-4068