Election challenges fail in 3 Lexington County towns

tflach@thestate.comNovember 8, 2013 

— A flurry of election challenges failed Friday, leaving intact the defeat of several incumbents in three Lexington County towns.

Two Chapin leaders dropped a protest seeking to overturn their losses at the polls Tuesday. Mayor Stan Shealy and Councilman Leland Teal withdrew their complaints after reviewing applications for more than two dozen absentee ballots from residents of two senior living centers.

The two incumbents lost by a handful of votes – Shealy by 17, Teal by nine. Reviewing the ballots in question was necessary “for the town’s benefit” to satisfy doubts, Shealy said.

Shealy, speaking for both, said it was impossible to detect whether there were any irregularities in the way those ballots were cast, as they initially thought.

“Anything I may think, I have no proof of,” he said. “We don’t have any evidence to proceed further.”

Separate recounts Friday also confirmed narrow losses for Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre and Springdale Mayor Pat Smith.

Recounts by county election officials confirmed Halfacre’s loss by 18 votes and Smith’s by two.

Halfacre asked for the second look, saying he wanted “to make sure” the tally was accurate. The one for Smith was automatic due to the close tally.

No further challenge will come from Halfacre, he said Friday.

“I don’t want to create a negative for this community,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’ve had a fantastic run.”

His focus shifts to furthering regional economic development in his role as president of the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce, he said.

Shealy and Smith are among the longest-serving mayors in the Midlands, while Halfacre is influential in political and business circles. Teal is an ally of Shealy who has been a town leader almost as long as the mayor.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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