AIKEN Retired waste management worker Sandy Haskell defeated his competitor by 30 votes in the Aiken County District 5 county council runoff tonight.
He won with 370 votes, 52 percent, according to unofficial results released shortly after 8 p.m.
I didnt know how it was going to turn out, Mr. Haskell said after the precincts were tallied. There was nothing certain about this with just 30 votes between us.
Opponent Barry Baggott got 340 votes, 48 percent of the 710 cast in the runoff. The voter turnout was 15 percent higher than in the Sept. 15 Republican primary, said Stuart Bedenbaugh, executive director of Aiken County Registration and Elections.
Its a little bit better than last time, he said. I think some folks like to see the field narrowed a bit before they cast their vote.
In the primary, Mr. Baggotts 268 votes gave him 44 percent, the largest share of any Republican candidate. The Savannah River Site employee comes from a civically involved family. His mother, Carolyn Baggott, has served on the North Augusta City Council since 1991.
He said the loss was very disappointing.
I think we both worked very hard, but it seems he may have motivated his strong base a little more than I did, Mr. Baggott said.
Mr. Haskell said he will continue to make phone calls and encourage voter participation as he approaches the Nov. 3 special election against Democrat Judy Hamilton. He said his business background will give him an edge in the November election.
I think its important that we continue to manage Aiken in a fiscally conservative way, he said. I want to see economic growth, and I hope I can help accomplish that.