Chapin voters send message to stop meal tax, council conflict

David Knight
David Knight Contributed Photo

David Knight is returning to Chapin Town Hall in January as mayor instead of town attorney after winning an election Tuesday that he said sends a message to end talk of a meal tax and stop conflict among town leaders.

Knight won a convincing victory, receiving 177 votes to 99 for incumbent Skip Wilson and 34 for newcomer Shayla Flores.

The outcome ends consideration of a local tax on restaurant dining, take-out meals and some snacks. It’s an idea that Wilson favored as a way to help pay for a proposed park and road improvements but which Knight and Flores opposed.

The tax would be “counterproductive” by driving away diners, Knight said.

The tax would have been felt well beyond the Lexington County community of 1,700 residents. Chapin is the commercial and political hub of a 40-square-mile area on the north side of Lake Murray with 60,000 residents.

Knight also ran as a unifier promising to end friction among town leaders that persisted under Wilson.

Wilson, who has served a four-year term, made some spending and staff decisions single-handedly over the objections of Town Council members. He also refused to allow ideas he opposed to be brought up for consideration.

“It’s not about me,” Knight said after his win. “Everybody is going to have a say.”

Knight, 74, was town attorney for 27 years before being let go by Wilson three years ago.

Newcomers Preston Baines and Al Koon were elected to fill two Town Council seats, receiving 228 and 156 votes, respectively. Joe Dever finished with 110.

Other election highlights in Lexington County communities included:

▪ Besides Wilson, two other long-time mayors lost re-election bids – David Busby in Pine Ridge and Ray Spires in Swansea.

▪ A proposal to allow homeowners in Irmo to keep a few hens in backyards lost 515-382.

Tim Flach: 803-771-8483

Other area elections

Several races in other Lexington County communities were decided Tuesday. Incumbents are noted with an asterisk.


Mayor: Lancer Shull, 497; Charles Simpkins, 423

Town Council

District 2: Olin Gambrell, 85; Tripp Williamson, 59; Tom Mims, 49. Gambrell and Williamson face each other in a run-off ballot Nov. 21.

District 3: Steve Cain*, 60; Gail Gibson, 53

District 5: Shirley Etheredge Mitchell, 58; Bob Penick*, 38

District 6: Jim Mitchell, 65; Tillman Gives, 51

District 7: Jason Prouse, 63; Nick Hallman, 35


Town Council (2 at-large): Kathy Condom*, 548; Barry Walker*, 513; Brent Chitwood, 222; Ed Wadelington, 203; Robert Wessinger, 136; Kelly Busch 64,

Pine Ridge

Mayor: Robert Wells, 80; David Busby*, 70

Town Council (2 at-large): Scott Simms, 118; Floyd Dinkins*, 107; Rick Dinkins, 44


Town Council (3 at-large): Juston Ricard*, 67; Jacob Wilkerson*, 67; Kevin Reeley*, 63; Christie Cole, 9


Mayor: Jerald Sanders, 110; Michael Loungo, 58; Ray Spires*, 39

West Columbia

City Council

District 1: Mike Green*, 114; Pete Fisher, 97; Virginia McGrady, 28

District 5: Marland Mitchell, 76; Mickey Pringle, 71; Boyd Jones*, 28

District 7: Erin Porter, 151; Leslie Efron-Platt, 101; Richard Walker, 71