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.”