Lexington Co. mayors easily re-elected

Veteran mayors in three Lexington County towns handily turned back re-election challenges Tuesday.

Voters largely kept their brooms in the closet as most incumbents fared well at the polls.

The outcome settled on municipal leaders for up to four years in contested races in eight communities in Lexington and Richland counties. Officials in Chapin were re-elected automatically due to no opposition.

In Batesburg-Leesville, Mayor James Wiszowaty won a showdown with his two main critics but the outcome won't end the conflict.

"I'm going to fight the mayor every single day," said Steve Cain, who retained his council seat but lost a bid to oust Wiszowaty. "I don't think he has a mandate."

Wiszowaty shrugged off the prospect of continued confrontation.

"The polls have spoken and we're going to move the town forward. We've done it for eight years and will do it for another four."

Cain opposes a plan to build a new water plant on Lake Murray, saying it seems too expensive.

Before that, he questioned the performance of police, firefighters and other town employees, fought a crackdown on abandoned homes and pressed unsuccessfully for salaries and expensive accounts for town leaders.

Pansy Buzhardt, another Wiszowaty foe, lost her bid for a Town Council post.

Pine Ridge Mayor David Busbyand Swansea Mayor Ray Spires called their wins a sign of satisfaction with the way their communities are run.

"Our citizens said we want to continue the progress in the direction were are going," Busby said. "It's a vote of trust, a vote of endorsement to continue doing what we've been doing."

His plan to allow limited commercial development in a town where residents are largely content to remain a bedroom community was the central issue in the race.

Spires said his victory is payback for all he's done in nine years as the top town leader in Swansea.

"We've got trust and friendship here," he said. "They respect me and I respect them."

Spires came under fire for little progress in paying off a debt of $473,000 owed for failure to forward court fines to state coffers from 2004-07.

Developing a plan to pay the debt "is the last hurdle we've got to get over," he said.

In Summit, incumbents Henry Hartley and David Reeseremain on Town Council by write-in campaigns after no one filed for the posts.

In the only referendum, voters in Irmo cleared the way to buy beer by the six-pack and bottles of wine at local stores.

The community was one of the last areas in Richland County where such sales were banned.

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