Originally created 04/01/97

Two candidates face off today in GOP runoff



AIKEN - A Republican newcomer and a former councilwoman will meet in a runoff today for the chance to replace Judith Warner in Aiken County Council District 1.

Windsor businessman Robert Goldman, who took 43 percent, or 300 votes, in a five-candidate GOP primary two weeks ago will meet former Councilwoman Fay Hatcher, who had 30 percent, or 214 votes.

The runoff winner will take on Kathy Rawls, the only Democrat, in a special election May 6. Ms. Rawls held the seat from 1986 to 1994.

Turnout is expected to be extremely light, said Denton Johnston, executive director of the Aiken County Elections and Voter Registration office. Only 9 percent of the registered voters in District 1 voted March 18.

"(Turnout) will be about half what it was the other day," he said. "People just don't vote in runoffs. When you get to a runoff, interest falls down. It's hard to get people out to vote twice in two weeks."

The seat opened in January when Ms. Warner, who held the seat since 1994, resigned to become the county's Registrar of Mesne Conveyance, who handles deeds and land holdings.

One of the keys to the race could be Mr. Goldman's home precinct - Shiloh 34 near Windsor. He received 164 votes in that precinct two weeks ago.

Ms. Hatcher said previously that overcoming Mr. Goldman's strength in his home district will be a difficult task for her. She held the seat from 1979 to 1986 as a Democrat but lost it after becoming a Republican in 1986.

Mr. Goldman's top issues are improving the county's zoning ordinance and dirt roads. He said he would like to see the area have a larger voice on the county council.

The Windsor man said he felt he could make a difference on the council after his work on an ad hoc subcommittee in streamlining a new, controversial zoning district - Limited Development. He is semiretired but helps out his son Frankie at Goldman Distributors, a Windsor sporting goods store.

Meanwhile, Ms. Hatcher has focused on her experience, better maintenance of dirt roads and lowering taxes. She said she hopes her name recognition as a former council member will play in her favor.

Voting precincts

Here are the precincts and locations for Aiken County Council District 1:
Monetta 21: Monetta Community Center, U.S. Highway 1.
Montmorenci 22: Montmorenci Volunteer Fire Department, U.S. Highway 78.
New Holland 24: New Holland Grange Hall.
Oak Grove 30: Oak Grove Baptist Church, South Carolina Highway 39.
Perry 31: Perry Town Hall.
Salley 32: Old Crescent Vocational School, Salley.
Shaw's Fork 33: Shaw's Fork Church, South Carolina Highway 302.
Shiloh 34: Center Fire Department, U.S. Highway 1.
Tabernacle 36: Kitchings Mill Community Center.
Wagener 39: Wagener-Salley High School.
Ward 40: Jerusalem Baptist Church, U.S. Highway 1.
White Pond 42: Summer Grove Baptist Church, Old Barnwell Road.
Windsor 43: Windsor Recreation Building, Mount Beulah Road.
Couchton{cq} 56: Aiken Electric Building, South Carolina Highway 302.