Greenville city council race: ‘Businessman’ hopes to defeat 36-year council veteran

GREENVILLE, SC – Four candidates are vying for 2 open seats on the Greenville City Council as elections approach on November 7th.

One, however, has become more contentious than another.

Democratic incumbent, Lillian Brock Flemming of District 2, has been on the city council for 36 years.

“I’m told we need something new,” she said Wednesday night at an open forum held by the League of Women Voters at the Greenville Public Library.

Flemming told 7 news that a new concern among her constituents is the idea that it’s time for a fresh face and new ideas on the city council.

“I don’t know what newer stuff we could do, but I do know that we can improve upon what we have done,” she said. “And what done has been very successful.”

Flemming cited open projects like The Big Dig, a $46 million dollar sewage project, as reasons why she intends to stay.

“I don’t feel comfortable leaving it in someone’s hands that may not have the experience or the historical data.”

The other person’s hands could be her Republican challenger, Matt Cotner.

“I took a chance on Greenville, but Greenville took a chance on me as well,” Cotner told the audience watching his debate Wednesday night.

The U.S. Army Veteran said he’s lived in Greenville for nearly 16 years.

“I think at some point in time, as the city has changed, the needs have changed and the skill sets have changed,” he explained.

Cotner told 7 News that he believes his business background will help Greenville grow in what he considers to be “the right direction.”

“We have to make sure that the neighborhoods are a priority, and we have to make sure that particularly in the west side of Greenville, economic development benefits everybody. I don’t think it has,” he said.

Currently Greenville city councilor, Gaye Sprague, announced earlier in the year that she will not be seeking re-election.

The two men fighting for her seat are Republican John DeWorken and Democrat Russell Stall.