Political signs dot the landscape in advance of Tuesday’s municipal elections.
By LEE WARDLAW and NICK PAPADIMAS
Tuesday, Nov. 5 is election day in South Carolina. In Richland County, voters will cast ballots in the Columbia, Arcadia Lakes, Irmo, and Blythwood general elections.
In Columbia, voters will make decisions in three voting districts: District 2, District 3 and the at-large district.
In District 2, Ed McDowell Jr., a former pastor, is seeking re-election. He will be faced by two challengers: Catherine Fleming Bruce and Anna Fonseca. Fleming is a media consultant, activist and author. Fonseca is a resident of the Governor’s Hill neighborhood in Columbia.
The district is defined by historic African-American neighborhoods in the northern and central areas of Columbia.
In District 3, incumbent Moe Baddourah will be faced by two challengers: 34-year old John Loveday and 38-year old Will Brennan. Loveday is the principal of the S.C. Whitmore School, an online charter school. Brennan is the owner of Brennan Works design and construction company.
The district’s boundaries cut through the heart of Columbia, stretching from Gervais Street, to the Rosewood and Shandon neighborhoods and ending at the banks of the Congaree River.
It remains to be seen if voters will continue to trust Baddourah, who’s run for a third term has been marred by scandal. He was arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence after allegedly hitting his former wife with a car door in the parking lot of Rockaway Athletic Club, a restaurant in the Rosewood neighborhood.
He was suspended from City Council in March 2017 by Gov. Henry McMaster and was reinstated in Oct. 2018, leaving his district with no direct representation for 18 months.
The at-large seat is determined by a city-wide vote. Incumbent Howard Duvall, who is 76, will seeks to win a second term. His current term expires on Dec. 31, 2019.
Duvall, who has been involved in government for 46 years, faces a trio of young competitors, including 27-year-old Sara Middleton, 27-year-old Dylan Gunnels and 31-year-old Amadeo Geere.
Middleton is a businesswoman and attorney, while Gunnels and Geere both come from a background in the non-profit sector.
Eighty-three precincts have been set throughout the city, which can be found here.
Two candidates, Linda Jackson and Michael Smith, are running unopposed for at-large seats on the Arcadia Lakes Town Council. Both are seeking re-election in the town, which borders northern Columbia.
Constituents in Irmo will vote in the town’s general election tomorrow, as nine precincts will vote in these locations.
Barry Walker Sr., a town council member who is wrapping up his No. 4 term, and Mike Ward, a local entrepreneur, will challenge incumbent Hardy King for the mayor position, which King has held since 2011.
Five candidates vie for two open council seats. Incumbents Julius Waites and Mark Pouliot will face Dan Newbanks, Erik Sickinger and Kelly Busch.
In Blythewood, three citizens will be running for mayor, including Keith Bailey, Bryan Franklin and Malcolm Gordge.
Bailey, who is 60 years old, served as the town’s mayor from 2008 to 2012. Franklin, who is 51 years old, is a sitting member of town council. Gordge, 71 years old, is currently retired.
Two of five town council seats are open and the top two vote-getters will be elected.
Incumbent Eddie Baughman will face Marcus Taylor, Donald Brock, Sloan Griffin and Berry Belville.
Brock is running for his second time after a failed campaign in 2017.
To cast a ballot, citizens will need to bring one of the five following items: a South Carolina-issued driver’s license, a South Carolina-issued identification card, a Federal Military ID, a South Carolina-issued voter registration card with a photo or a United States passport.