Enquirer Herald

It's Cox vs. Lee for District 3

Joe Cox is happy to say the Republican primary is behind him.

He successfully defended his York County Council District 3 seat against challenger Kenny Ruffin of Smyrna in Tuesday's Republican primary, capturing 56 percent of the vote by taking 533 nods to Ruffin's 415, according to unofficial results from the York County Elections Web site.

But the race for York County Council District 2, which includes Clover and Lake Wylie, didn't produce a clear winner.

Incumbent Tom Smith and challenger David McCorkle will meet in a Republican run-off June 24 since both failed to secure a majority victory in the three way race.

District 3

Cox said voters in District 3, which covers much of western York County, including York, Sharon, Hickory Grove, Smyrna and McConnells, validated the job he's done on council.

During the campaign, Ruffin accused Cox of not living up to conservative principles. If elected, Ruffin said he would fight to reduce government spending.

Cox, a former mayor of Sharon and first term county councilman, now shifts focus to November's election where he'll face York Mayor Eddie Lee, who ran uncontested for the Democratic ticket.

"We have a tough election coming up in November" Cox said. "I'm going to need all the support I can get."

Cox said he will continue to fight for better roads in western York County, to promote fire substations and to oppose a proposed landfill on Quarry Road that residents worry could contaminate their wells.

Cox said he also expects Pennies for Progress to be an issue in the campaign, although he was not in office when the 1997 and 2003 projects were passed. Last fall, the council discovered a shortfall of $22.8 million for the '97 projects.

"I was instrumental in removing CME from service for consultants and moving it into the county's hands and the engineering department," Cox said. "I think that was a good program, but a lot of people now poke holes in it, so that might come up."

In 2006, Ruffin placed third in a three way Republican race.

Ruffin could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

District 2

In a close District 2 race, Smith, 44, needed just a few more votes to claim a majority and fend off McCorkle and third place finisher Bill Stiles. Instead, his bid for a second term will require one more step after landing 49 percent of the vote.

"I think a lot of David's votes are from the Lake Wylie area where a lot of newcomers don't know me. Bill has a lot of support in Clover, and I'm hoping those voters will support me now," Smith said.

Smith, owner of May Green Properties, established his platform on three issues: overseeing a development agreement for the massive Allison Creek development, his plan to have the county buy Carolina Water and lower water rates for Lake Wylie residents and supporting a rural fire tax to fund rural fire departments in the district.

McCorkle, 54, who claims Smith has been influenced by special interests during his time in office, told voters he will establish a citizens advisory group and listen to concerns.

"I'm gonna get the word out that this is 'We the people,'" said McCorkle, who grabbed 33 percent of the vote. "I'm not going to say anything bad about Mr. Smith. I just want to improve communication. That's what I'm all about."

The winner of the run-off is unopposed in November's general election.

Countywide, voter turnout was 11.12 percent.

All other county councilmen held onto their seats Tuesday. Councilmen serve two-year term and received $15,500 annually.

-- Adam O'Daniel of The Herald contributed