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One headline from this week’s election is glaringly clear: it was tough to be an incumbent.
Voters were clearly in the mood for change.
Some observers have suggested that those voting for a change were motivated by anti-growth sentiment. That might be the case in the Mount Pleasant Mayoral race, which often felt like a referendum on growth, but the narrative doesn’t hold up everywhere.
Consider that two newly elected members of Mount Pleasant Town Council earned endorsement from the Chamber’s Political Action Committee largely because of their support for balanced economic growth.
In Charleston, two challengers for City Council, also endorsed by the Chamber’s PAC for their pro-business and sustainable growth views, easily defeated incumbents. In the 3-way district 10 race, the Chamber PAC endorsed candidate Summer Massey is in a runoff against fellow challenger Harry Griffin, who also supports growth infrastructure priorities like Mark Clark completion and Glenn McConnell extension.
Two other outcomes from Tuesday that didn’t dominate Facebook chatter, but deserve our attention:
- Voter turnout was, again, very poor. In Charleston County less than 29,000 people, or just over 15% of registered voters turned out on Tuesday, a 4% slide from the 2015 election. In the spirited Mount Pleasant Mayoral contest, only 16,872 people (a hair over 20% of the population) cast a ballot.
- City of Charleston voters overwhelmingly approved the workforce attainable housing bond. This measure, backed by Chamber Board, will create 800 new housing units affordable to workers earning less than the area median income. An impressive 70% of voters said yes to public-private partnerships creating opportunities for more nurses, teachers, police officers and young professionals to live near work. Read more about the bond in this Advocates article.
It’s an important victory on its own. It will be even more powerful if we can turn this vote into the first big step in a movement for housing attainability.
Thank you to all the Advocates readers who exercised their civic duty, got informed on candidates and issues and made it to the polls this week.