By Barney Blakeney
Shortly after the polls closed November 7 it was clear S.C. House Dist. 113 Democratic candidate Marvin Pendarvis would win the seat vacated in August by Rep. J. Seth Whipper. Pendarvis’ win signaled other victories. Charleston voters also approved a $20 million bond referendum to fund affordable housing initiatives.
In Charleston Dist. 6 Councilman William Dudley Gregorie midday Tuesday anxiously awaited election results. Gregorie, who’s held the Dist. 6 seat since first being elected in 2009, faced off against two challengers – Fran Clasby, whom he defeated in 2013, and Amy Brennan in the majority white district that encompasses some of the peninsula’s west side and parts of James Island. Late Tuesday by press time Gregorie and Brennan were tied neck and neck to win the seat. A recount seems likely at this point.
In the West Ashley Dist. 2 race incumbent Rodney Williams anticipated victory buoyed by late endorsements from Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Charleston Mayor Pro Tem Mike Seekings, and West Ashley Revitalization Commission Chair Peter Shahid. That didn’t happen as Williams was defeated in his bid for a second term by West Ashley businessman Kevin Shealy. District 4 incumbent Robert Mitchell, unchallenged in the election, was guaranteed re-election to the seat he first won in 1998.
Mount Pleasant voters had the opportunity for the first time to elect two African Americans to town council. Rodly Millet and John Wright were among the 10 candidates vying for four seats up for election. Neither’s campaign was successful. It was Millet’s second attempt to win a seat on the council.
Although Pendarvis virtually cruised to victory in the House Dist. 113 election, he campaigned with the vigor of a candidate in a much closer contest. It’s a vigor he says he’ll carry into office.
“The work begins tomorrow,” Pendarvis said Tuesday night after it was clear he would win the seat. “We’ll celebrate tonight, but when the sun rises tomorrow, it will be a new day and time to go to work.” Winning the election was the first step in a process that prioritizes public education, affordable housing and roads infrastructure. Those are the issues constituents want addressed, he said.
Pendarvis said he’ll go to Columbia in January to develop relationships that will enable him to produce some results. “I want to show my colleagues and my constituents I’m serious, so I want to hit the ground running. It’s time to work and I’m ready to work,” he said.
“We are thrilled that Marvin Pendarvis has been elected as the new representative for S.C. House District 113,” said Brady Quirk-Garvan Chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party. “Marvin represents a new generation of leadership that is badly needed in Columbia. We are grateful for this overwhelming victory for the Democratic Party.”