ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - At 7 p.m. the polls closed in Rock Hill's first contested mayoral race in more than a decade. Sitting Mayor Doug Echols has served as mayor for 20 years. He announced he would not run for re-election, telling WBTV that he felt it was time for a new leader.
Echols says he wanted Rock Hill to grow economically when he was elected in 1997. He says the goal was to create a city that was centered in downtown, with establishments from Founders Park stretching to Winthrop.
With new apartments being built downtown, plans for a hotel near the fountain park and an indoor sports arena being constructed near Winthrop, Echols says he feels he's reached his goal.
"I think seeing that come together and being a part of all that over a long period of time has really been pleasurable for me, my hope is that whoever is going to sit in this seat is going to continue that and I believe that is going to happen because we are in a good position," Echols said.
Echols has publicly supported candidate John Gettys to fill his seat. Gettys is currently chair of the sports commission and has served on city council for two terms previously.
Also vying for the mayor's seat is William "Bump" Roddey. Roddey is currently a York County Councilman, he also sits on Rock Hill's sports commission, according to his website.
Longtime Rock Hill resident and architect Duane Christopher is also running for mayor.
According to the York County Board of Elections, at 6 p.m. there was a 18.33 percent voter turnout. Election officials say that is slightly higher than the last mayoral election in 2005 which was just under 18 percent.
To win, the candidates will have to have at least 51 percent of the vote. If not, a runoff will be held on Halloween.?