Ann Williamson-Morrison was “on a cloud,” she said, after defeating Nikita Jackson on Tuesday in the Rock Hill City Council Ward 5 runoff election by 50 votes.
Williamson-Morrison, a retired flight attendant and teacher, won half of the ward’s voting precincts and captured 55 percent of the votes.
She’ll start her City Council term in January, replacing long-time Ward 5 representative Osbey Roddey, who did not seek re-election this year.
Initially, Williamson-Morrison said, she’ll be in “learning mode” and will continue to be visible to her constituents and provide them with updates and information that will help them help themselves.
Ward 5 includes many homes and businesses in southern Rock Hill, such as those along Albright Road and Saluda Street and near South Pointe High, Saluda Trail Middle, Oakdale Elementary and Sylvia Circle Elementary schools. Parts of Crawford Road, Heckle Boulevard and downtown Rock Hill also are part of Ward 5.
Tuesday’s runoff election in Rock Hill came after the two women first faced off earlier this month, along with another candidate, Mildred A. Moore. Municipal elections rules called for a runoff because no candidate won 50 percent plus one of the votes.
Williamson-Morrison’s win on Tuesday proved to be a reversal of the election results from two weeks ago when Jackson emerged as the leader with the most votes of the three candidates.
Tuesday’s poll numbers showed a slight improvement in voter turnout, with 470 people voting and 18 people filing absentee ballots. In the earlier election, 421 people voted and two people filed absentee ballots.
Both Jackson, 40, and Williamson-Morrison, 68, said they were pleased to see more people voted Tuesday than did two weeks ago.
A loss in the City Council race does not mean she won’t run for office again, Jackson said after election officials posted unofficial results. She said she will continue working on the community’s behalf in Rock Hill.
While campaigning, both candidates knocked on many doors in Ward 5, asking people to vote and talking with residents about issues facing Rock Hill.
Jackson said she enjoyed meeting new people in Ward 5 and listening to their views on where city government should be focused.
The campaign and election were “a whirlwind, and I enjoyed the ride,” Jackson said.
Part of getting out voters on Tuesday meant driving Ward 5 residents to the polls, Williamson-Morrison said.
She and a friend provided transportation for many people, she said, and she believes it made a difference in turnout.
While asking people to vote, she was candid, she said, about areas in which Rock Hill needs to improve.
“Your city government is the first thing you should get involved in,” Williamson-Morrison said she told voters.
“We do not call Washington when we have problems – we call City Hall.”
Once sworn into office, Williamson-Morrison will make $16,348 annually as a Rock Hill City Council member.
Unofficial results available from York County election officials show that Williamson-Morrison claimed 14 absentee votes, compared to Jackson’s four.
The Highland Park precinct at Belleview Elementary School reported no votes on Tuesday night – a repeat of zero turnout at that polling place two weeks ago. The Rock Hill No. 8 precinct at The Children’s School at Sylvia Circle recorded the highest percentage of voter turnout with about 12 percent of registered voters showing up on Tuesday.
Jackson won the ward’s largest precinct – the Edgewood School polling place – with 96 votes to Williamson-Morrison’s 74.
Officials are expected to certify the results later this week.
Anna Douglas • 803-329-4068