Voters in the southwest corner of West Columbia go to the polls Tuesday to choose either a member of a well-known family or a local Republican leader as a new City Council member.
The nonpartisan contest is between Sandra Harley, widow of the councilman who held the post, and GOP activist Mike Green.
It’s a contrast in styles and outlook to fill a vacancy for a term of five months.
Harley hopes voters in District 1 give her a belated birthday present two days after she turns 74 by picking her as the successor to her late husband, Dale. He died last spring after nearly 24 years in office.
If elected, she intends to learn more about city operations before focusing on retaining the post this fall.
She pledges nothing more than to listen, be accessible and work hard. “I’m not promising something I can’t deliver,” she said.
Harley is banking on the network of friends and neighbors that her husband developed with her assistance.
But she makes it clear not to consider her a political clone. “I want to continue what he did,” she said. “That being said, I didn’t always agree with him.”
Green is running a campaign rooted in his background as a former political consultant.
One key difference with Harley is his promise to oppose tax hikes, a Republican tradition.
“I believe we all pay too much in taxes and now is the time to draw the line,” he said in an online message. “This is why I have signed a pledge not to raise any new taxes.”
But he stops short of calling city taxes excessive.
Green also promises to get a bridge on Wilton Road fixed quickly or he won’t seek re-election.
Unlike Harley, Green is campaigning with social media since that was his expertise as an adviser to other candidates. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Lexington County register of deeds last year.
He works in real estate and property management.
The winner becomes one of eight council members in the community of 16,000 residents.
It’s the first time that dozens of residents in an area west of I-26 and south of U.S. 1 that was annexed last year can vote for city officials.
Awaiting the winner is a race for the post again on the Nov. 7 ballot, this time for a four-year term in office.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483
Going to the polls
The nearly 1,900 voters in District 1 can cast ballots at two sites Tuesday. These are different from the normal polling locations:
▪ Springdale Baptist Church for those in the Springdale precinct.
▪ Brookland-Cayce Grammar School 1 for those in the West Columbia 4 and Hook’s Store precincts.