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Stiles backs Smith in District 2 runoff

LAKE WYLIE -- Tom Smith has added a key player to his campaign after falling 11 votes short of securing the York County Council District 2 seat for a second term in last week's Republican primary.

Smith has picked up endorsement from third-place finisher Bill Stiles, who called Smith "the better choice," in the June 24 runoff between the incumbent and challenger David McCorkle.

"His views are more in line with my views," Stiles said of Smith. "I would encourage people who voted for me to vote for Tom."

Because Smith secured only 49 percent of the votes, compared to McCorkle's 33 percent, a runoff is required. More than 50 percent is needed to secure the win.

Stiles, who finished with 18 percent, was not surprised to hear there would be a runoff. He expected one, but hoped it would include him.

Stiles said the issues dividing McCorkle and Smith are McCorkle's stance against developers, including Smith, who work in York County, serving on county council, and the opposition to the 1,400-acre planned development along Allison Creek and Crowders Creek that Smith helped craft with landowners.

"(Smith) has been confident and professional and really understanding of the surrounding neighborhoods to make that happen," Stiles said.

Smith contends, "It's not a conflict when you lead by example."

"As a consultant, you can't say do as I preach because I'm doing it," he said. "As a developer, you can."

Smith hopes to contact people he knows voted in last week's election prior to the runoff, as well as reach out to people who did not vote. He also hopes Stiles' endorsement will add more votes to his column.

McCorkle, however, said he plans to use whatever means necessary to close the gap.

"We'll be going door-to-door, making sure our message is heard," McCorkle said. "There's no quit in McCorkle."

McCorkle showed frustration with the turnout of only 1,084 voters. Turnout in District 2 varied by precincts, ranging from more than 16 percent at Bethel No. 2 (River Hills area) to less than 5 percent at Bethel No. 1 and Clover No. 2.

Attendance also was low at two public candidate forums, which hurts anyone trying to unseat an incumbent with name recognition, McCorkle said.

"Every time I try and interview for the job or make the issues known, no one seems to care or no one shows up," he said.

McCorkle hopes residents will vote on the issues affecting the Lake Wylie and Clover areas covered in District 2.

"People didn't vote on the issues," he said. "They voted on whose name was most familiar.

"They voted on a popularity contest," McCorkle said. "Tom's had his name in the paper the last two years. People voted because their kids go to school with his kids, maybe their kids play ball on the same teams with his kids."

Only voters who participated in the Republican primary last week or did not vote in any primary election will be eligible to vote June 24, according to the county elections office.

For more information, visit yorkcountygov.com.

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