Riley 'cruises' to 4 more years as Charleston mayor

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was elected to his 10th and final term as mayor of the city he has led through an urban renaissance in recent decades.

Riley, mayor longer than anyone in Charleston's almost 350-year history, defeated four opponents Tuesday without the need for a run off in the race he said would be his last.

"This campaign is cruising to victory," Riley said Tuesday night.

It was a reference to the sometimes heated debate over the city's expanded cruise industry that was an issue in the campaign.

Riley beat City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie, journalist David Farrow, teacher Craig Jelks and restaurant manager Joshua Kennedy.

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Riley's 10,663 votes led Gregorie's 4,202 with 98 percent of precincts reporting. Riley beat Gregorie four years ago.

David Farrow received 474 votes, Craig Jelks had 280 and Joshua Kennedy earned 151.

Riley made some bold claims during his victory speech, "We will fix the drainage on the Crosstown with the support of the State Infrastructure Bank and we will begin in February on the Market Street drainage, a $25-million project."

"The ship of this campaign doesn't need gasoline, it doesn't need deisel fuel, it is fueled by the good people of Charleston," Riley said.

After casting his ballot Tuesday, Riley said he hopes he'll be remembered for helping Charleston become one of the best cities in America.

He also said that, when first elected back in 1975, he would not have imagined he would be seeking a 10th term. But he said his service is a tribute to the people of Charleston who made him want to serve.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press and WCSC. All rights reserved.