Newcomer Ed Wolz defeated incumbent Philip Merry in the District 6 Aiken City Council Republican primary Tuesday, winning the right to face Democrat Joann Tillman Hooper in the Nov. 7 general election.
In District 5, where incumbent Steve Homoki did not seek re-election, Andrea Neira Gregory bested Andy Hallen and Jeffrey S. Jordan and has no announced opposition in November. Unless someone opposes her as a write-in candidate or qualifies by petition by noon Aug. 24, she will be automatically elected.
Wolz got 209 votes, 56 percent, to Merry’s 161, 44 percent. Gregory got 203 votes, 58 percent, to Hallen’s 125, 35 percent, and Jordan’s 25, 7 percent.
Wolz, who owns several local businesses, said his first challenge is winning in November, “and then we can move forward.”
He ran on a platform of strengthening public safety, rebuilding infrastructure, fostering downtown growth and saving taxpayers money.
“Those are the things I’ve talked about from day one and we’ll work on those,” he said.
Gregory, who owns medical and hospital equipment maker Highland Industries, wants to get her “growth approach” off and running, teaming up with Aiken County Council to reach out to industries that are leaving other parts of the country and get them to come to Aiken.
“They’re out there looking to come to the Southeast,” she said. “If we don’t invite them and give proposal on why they should come to Aiken, they won’t.”
She also wants to help make the city more business-friendly and create jobs.
The two other city council seats up for re-election this year are pretty much settled.
City Council District 4 incumbent Reggie Ebner also decided not to seek re-election and Republican Ed Girardeau was the only candidate to file to seek that seat. Unless he picks up a write-in or petition challenger, Girardeau has a clear path to take the seat.
Democratic incumbent Lessie Price was the only candidate to file for her District 2 seat. Barring a late challenge, she will be re-elected.