Challenger Chakisse Newton, in her first run for public office, appeared headed toward a comfortable victory in her race against embattled Richland County Council member Norman Jackson in District 11.
Jackson, 62, a Democrat who has served on council since 2007, had been embroiled in controversy.
He was one of the driving forces behind the dismissal of polarizing county administrator Gerald Seals, making the motion to fire him. Council later voted to give Seals a severance package of nearly $1 million.
Jackson also was the benefactor of the controversial Pinewood Lake Park in Lower Richland. He was accused of trying to pressure county staff to pay invoices submitted by a nonprofit connected to the park. Jackson's fellow council members have asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate him after Seals' interim replacement said he tried to bully and intimidate her to approve the payments.
Newton, 43, a marketing and public relations professional and the owner of Cardinal Consulting, said voters responded to her message of change and transparency.
"Everywhere we went, voters said they were supporting me; and so far, it looks like they kept their word," she said.
Newton will face off against Zoe Pruitt Owen, 47, in the heavily Democratic district. Owen is a Republican teacher and businesswoman from Lower Richland who volunteered for the campaigns of former Gov. Nikki Haley.
"This isn't over," Newton said. "I'm still going to knock on doors and I'm still going to talk to voters, listen to them, prepare for November and continue to learn."
Richland County Council results
District 1 (Irmo-Dutch Fork)
20 of 20 precincts reporting
Bill Malinowski (I): 2,106
Stan Smith: 1,988
District 5 (Downtown Columbia)
17 of 18 precincts reporting
Will Brennan: 1,537
Allison Terracio: 1,857
District 11 (Lower Richland)
19 of 19 precincts reporting
Norman Jackson (i): 1,541
Chakisse Newton: 2,488