Richland County Council: Incumbent Kennedy defeated

Challenger takes the incumbent’s home turf to win the nomination June 12, 2012 

Torrey Rush candidate for Richland County Council District 7

KENDRICK CHILES — Courtesy photograph

  • Richland County Council Six of the 11 seats on Richland County Council are on the ballot this fall. But only one – the District 7 Democratic primary – was on Tuesday’s primary ballot. Other county officeholders – including Sheriff Leon Lott, coroner Gary Watts and clerk of court Jeanette W. McBride, all Democrats – are unopposed. County Council District 7 The winner will face Republican challenger Celestine W. Parker in November. Gwendolyn Kennedy (i) — 597 Torrey Rush — 874

Richland County Councilwoman Gwendolyn Kennedy suspected she would lose her seat when she learned Tuesday night that her home turf and two other large precincts went against her.

“I knew I had lost,” said Kennedy, who was seeking a second consecutive term in her second stint on council. “I think I ran a good race. It just happened.”

Newcomer Torrey Rush carried about two-thirds of the ballots in a particularly low-turnout primary. Early results show Rush with a single-digit win in the Meadowlake precinct, Kennedy’s political base.

“We had a good idea (about a win) probably around 8-ish,” Rush said while celebrating at a restaurant. “We’re excited.”

District 7 encompasses older urban neighborhoods and the fast-growing I-77 corridor, stretching north of I-20 from Blythewood to Monticello Road.

Rush, a former county board of zoning appeals member, said his door-to-door campaign focused especially on the Meadowlake neighborhood.

“We knew that was her home turf, and we really wanted to battle there,” he said. “You couldn’t take a candidate like Ms. Kennedy lightly.”

Kennedy called to concede and to wish Rush well about 8:30 p.m.

“I told her she was a great opponent and that I appreciated our spirited debates, though we didn’t have many.”

Asked by a reporter if this was her last campaign, Kennedy once again showed her fighting spirit. “Oh, no. Don’t count me out,” she said. “I have a few good years left.”

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