Gary Bunker won the Aiken County Council chairman’s post outright Tuesday with 55 percent of the vote.
Bunker’s margin kept him out of a runoff with District 7 County Councilman Andrew Siders or District 4 Councilman Chuck Smith.
Bunker got 3,605 votes, 55 percent; Siders got 2,154 votes, 33 percent; and Smith got 759 votes, 12 percent.
Bunker’s win also means there will not have to be another special election to fill a vacant council term, which would have been the case if Siders or Smith had won. Their council terms run through 2020.
A general election is still scheduled, but no candidate from another party filed to seek the seat and, so far, no write-in or petition opponents have emerged. Siders has been serving as interim chairman and will continue to do so until after the general election, when Bunker takes office.
Bunker said he would start by “getting a grasp on all the numbers we’ve been talking about – the debt, forecast and revenue – and start forumulating plans for next years’ budget now.”
Bunker is a former councilman who served two terms, from 2005 through 2012, and works at Savannah River Site in project controls and business management. He was elected vice chairman three times and was chairman of the Administrative Committee for four years.
The council chairman’s seat became vacant when Ronnie Young won the election to fill the District 84 state House seat vacated by Chris Corley, who resigned in January after being charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.
Corley pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and was sentenced to six years in prison, suspended to five years probation.