Fort Mill residents gave their seal of approval to Mayor Guynn Savage and incumbents Lisa Cook and Chris Moody on Tuesday with strong support at the ballot box.
Mayor Savage, the town’s first female mayor, won a decisive victory with preliminary results showing her with over 60 percent of the vote. Corporate attorney Bret McNabb enjoyed a beer at Amor Artis Brewing with supporters Tuesday night as he watched precincts results that showed him falling short in his bid.
Council member Lisa Cook appeared to get enough votes to avoid a runoff from second-place Mike Short, a political veteran with a history on the town council and York County Council.
Doby’s Bridge protest organizer Rick Hayes was working in Phoenix while tracking his third-place finish, based on unofficial results.
“I congratulate her,” Hayes said by phone. “She ran a great, clean campaign, as I tried to do myself, and I wish her the best of luck.”
Relaxing at home, Short said it appeared Cook would pull out the win without a runoff. If the numbers change and a runoff is required, it would take place in two weeks.
“She had some strong local support,” Short said. “It is hard to beat an incumbent.”
At 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, Cook said she had no comment since she did not have results. Final results will be confirmed on Thursday morning once provisional ballots are counted.
Council member Chris Moody appeared to win an easy re-election, besting Fort Mill newcomer Marc DeJesus with nearly 70 percent of the vote.
Moody wrote this on his Facebook page: “We won Fort Mill! This wasn’t about me, but rather you! We aren’t old Fort Mill vs new Fort Mill, we are ONE Fort Mill. Thank you for your votes and support! I look forward to serving you the next four years!!”
Ronnie Helms was unopposed and won re-election easily.
Three of the four challengers came from the group of Doby’s Bridge protesters who were fighting a gas station planned next to the elementary school. But McNabb tried to make his challenge to Mayor Savage as a bigger-picture fight.
On Tuesday night, he said he was happy that people got engaged, especially since the turnout spiked for this election.
“When I first started, my primary goal was to get people in Fort Mill engaged and to show them that local government was something that is tangible,” he said. “And even though it didn’t turn out my way, certainly the campaign encouraged people to come out and get involved.”
McNabb posted a Facebook live video thanking the mayor. He said that they both seemed to run a respectful and professional campaign.
“It was unfortunate that I didn’t win, but I wanted to help my community,” McNabb said.
DeJesus sent this statement on his loss to Moody: “I am grateful and humbled for the support and encouragement I’ve received during this campaign. I had the opportunity to work and meet so many amazing people I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I knew winning was a long shot but I cared too much about the families in this area not to try. I am disappointed. I won’t have the opportunity to be a true representative to the residents of Fort Mill’s 4th Ward. Winning our precinct is proof families here feel neglected and want change. I hope this campaign and the efforts made by many are a wake-up call to Mayor Savage and Chris Moody to put a greater emphasis on engaging, listening and responding to this community. Over the next 4 years, we all want to see a more proactive approach and better planning to ensure smarter and safer development. Fort Mill is my home. This is where my children will grow up and I plan to remain active in this community. Again, my deepest gratitude for everyone who took the time to vote and to support me in this effort.”
Here are unofficial results:
Mayor: Incumbent Guynn Savage – 1,427; Bret McNabb – 889
Ward 4: Incumbent Chris Moody – 1,602; Marc DeJesus – 689
At-Large: Incumbent Lisa Cook: 1,197; Mike Short – 567; Rick Hayes – 523
Ward 2: Incumbent Ronnie Helms: 2,030