November 5, 2013

Georgetown voters choose two newcomers and a veteran for City Council seats

There will be some new faces on City Council in Georgetown with two council members joining a veteran, but Mayor Jack Scoville will return for another four years.

There will be some new faces on City Council in Georgetown with two council members joining a veteran, but Mayor Jack Scoville will return for another four years.

Scoville, a one-term incumbent, defeated challenger Richard Powers Tuesday by 40 votes, winning with 1,092 votes to Powers’ 1,052, based on unofficial totals with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Scoville said he’s never won by more than 50 votes, so he wasn’t worried while watching the numbers come in, but said he was thankful to the voters that turned out to support him.

He said negative campaigning towards the end of the election may have given him an advantage.

“Because of the negative nature [of the campaigning] I had a lot of people in the last week call me to say they were planning on voting for my opponent, but they were switching to vote for me,” Scoville said. “I hope it shows that negativity doesn’t work in Georgetown.”

Scoville said his record during his first four years in office was helpful too.

“If you look at my record, I think you’ve got to say I’m the most qualified candidate,” he said.

Scoville expressed disappointment that incumbent Paige Sawyer will not be returning next term, but said he’s excited to work with newcomers Carol Jayroe and Ed Kimbrough, who were the two highest vote earners for City Council with 1,048 votes and 990 votes, respectively.

Brendon Barber returns for a fifth term after claiming 988 votes. Along with Sawyer who received 966 votes, incumbent Jeanette Ard also was defeated with 951 votes, and newcomer Doris Simmons with 853 votes.

Donna Mahn with the Georgetown County Elections Director said a recount is possible because all of the votes were so close, but on Tuesday at press time she couldn’t be sure a recount would be needed. A recount occurs when there is a less than one percent margin between the candidates, she said.

All votes remain unofficial until a certification hearing at the Georgetown County election office Thursday at 10 a.m.

Mahn said there will not be any runoffs, no matter the margin.

All the expiring seats on City Council in Georgetown are filled, but a gaping hole remains in the heart of the city’s historic business district. Rebuilding is chief among concerns and goals for the council following the Front Street fire in September that destroyed seven buildings, damaged another and left 130 jobless.

Scoville said his top goal is to rebuild the burned area on Front Street so it’s better than before and said there should be citizen input on the recovery and plans and what role the city government should play. He said City Council will need to be a leader and coordinator in the rebuilding efforts.

“We will have to help the property owners as much as we can while keeping the public interest in mind.”

Barber said he plans to touch base with the newly elected council members.

“We need to make sure that we move forward as a family and a community to make sure we do the best for the city of Georgetown and work to make sure we can remain a progressive city,” Barber said.

Ard received several hugs from supporters at the Georgetown County elections office Tuesday night.

She said she plans to “stay just as involved in the community as ever.”

She also will remain a player in the rebuilding of Front Street having lost her home and business in the fire.

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