White, Horne preparing for runoff in Spartanburg mayor’s race

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Incumbent Spartanburg Mayor Junie White and challenger Todd Horne will face each other in a runoff election on Nov. 21.

Spartanburg’s mayoral race will head for a runoff between two candidates.

Incumbent Mayor Junie White and challenger Todd Horne claimed the two top spots in Tuesday’s election, holding off a third candidate Lekesa Whitner.

According to unofficial results, White garnered 2,853 votes, Horne received 2,196, and Whitner 778.

Henry Laye, director of Spartanburg County’s Board of Voter Registration and Elections, said no candidate received a majority, or more than 50 percent of votes.

That means White and Horne will face each other in the runoff on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

“I am very grateful to the people of Spartanburg for their overwhelming support by winning 17 out of 22 precincts in the city of Spartanburg tonight,” White said in a statement issued by his campaign Tuesday.

“The people have spoken and have recognized the great things happening in Spartanburg; it is clear in the vote today that the people of Spartanburg want to keep moving forward, not change directions. I look forward to the runoff and to talking with more voters over the next two weeks.”

White, 80, a former city councilman and owner of White’s Pine Street Exxon, has served two terms as Spartanburg’s mayor. He won the seat in 2009.

Horne, 35, former chairman of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce and vice president of business development at Spartanburg-based Clayton Construction Co., has never run for office.

“Spartanburg has spoken and the majority of voters are ready for new, energetic leadership,” Horne said. “This isn’t about me. It’s about Spartanburg. We’ll be working hard during the next two weeks. I think people want a mayor who is accessible and accountable. The energy of the mayor and the city are one in the same. I feel confident that we’re going to win this thing.”

While the mayor’s race remains undecided, Spartanburg County voters did approve a six-year, 1-cent sales tax increase that will be used to generate revenue for a new judicial center, joint city/county government center, and other facilities.

Nearly 17,000 voters supported the referendum, compared with more than 10,000 who were against it, according to unofficial results.

The sales tax will begin May 1, 2018, and end April 30, 2024.

Local leaders said the cost of the new facilities is estimated at almost $217 million. They expect the tax increase will raise $224 million.

About $70 million of the funds are anticipated to come from visitors to Spartanburg.

The tax will not apply to unprepared foods, prescription medicines, automobiles, and sales of personal property otherwise exempt from the state sales tax.

A study conducted by Clemson University researcher Bob Brookover said the projects could have a $240 million impact on the local economy and support more than 1,800 jobs.

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