Incumbents Smith and Roddey hope leads hold

Voters in two York County Council districts will return to the polls Tuesday to choose nominees.

Incumbents in Districts 2 and 4 finished first in the June 10 party primaries. But with three candidates in both races, neither incumbent captured more than 50 percent of the votes cast, creating the runoffs on Tuesday.

In District 2, first-term incumbent Tom Smith fell a handful of votes shy of reclaiming his seat representing Clover and Lake Wylie. He's backed by Bill Stiles, who was eliminated in the primary, because Smith's views are more like his, Stiles says.

Fellow Republican David McCorkle, who wants to unite the community with neighborhood meetings to discuss issues, took 33 percent of the vote. No Democrats have filed for the seat.

In District 4, William "Bump" Roddey, a 34-year-old who promised to bring a fresh vision to the county, is taking on Roy Blake Tuesday. Blake, 59, who has represented the southwestern Rock Hill district for two terms, led the primary with 47 percent of the vote. Roddey followed with nearly 35 percent, and Gwendolyn Connor was eliminated.

The winner will face Republican Tom Hardin in November.

All candidates are worried that low voter turnout in the June 10 primaries could result in fewer voters Tuesday. About 11 percent of all York County registered voters casts ballots June 10; fewer than 10 percent voted in most of the northern part of the county where District 2 represents.

"It's like a rezoning," Smith said of the low voter turnout, "only unhappy people come to the meetings."

Nearly 1600 voters cast ballots in District 4 compared to less than 1100 in the Clover and Lake Wylie District.

District 4

Blake, who is pushing for a waste-to-engery plant for trash disposal and a prescription drug card that provides discounts for everyone, is counting on his experience to carry him in the runoff.

If re-elected, Blake would also like to see more money spent on the impoverished Blackmon Road community in his district. He said water and sewer lines need to be extended to residents there.

Blake said he thinks it would be a mistake if District 4 voters chose to start over with a new council representative.

"There's no need to change now," Blake said. "My opponent at best has a little knowledge, no experience with the workings of our county government."

Roddey, who wants to attract businesses by beautifying the district, countered by asking what Blake's experience has done for the area.

"What has his experience got us? It (The district) looks the same as it did 20 years ago," Roddey said. "Since Roy's been in the seat, I think community pride has gone down -- without a voice for the community."

Roddey has received no formal support from Connor, but he hopes voters who supported her June 10 will back him Tuesday.

"The people that voted for her voted against Roy for a change of leadership. That change is now possible if they cast a vote for me," Roddey said. "I need them. Our community and district need them to get out and vote Tuesday."

District 2

Smith, 44, said he wants to complete the job he started on council in 2007. He said he wanted to achieve the goals he set going into the term: working out a development agreement with large landowners for school sites and lower density on the lake; upfitting the staff for continuity and consistency; purchasing Carolina Water Service; and strengthening the county's anti-litter program.

McCorkle, 54, says he's more interested in being a group organizer than a politician.

"Right now we operate in the shadows," McCorkle said of community involvement in county decisions. "If I get people involved in an advisory council, we can take a unified fight on what we want. We need a visible police force, fire force in Lake Wylie."

Smith said he's been accessible to residents, who can call him and discuss issues.

County council members serve two-year terms and receive $15,500 annually.

Lake Wylie Pilot Reporter John Marks contributed to this story.

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