AIKEN - Republican newcomer Bob Goldman won a primary runoff Tuesday for a chance to replace Judith Warner in Aiken County Council District 1.
With all 15 precincts reporting, Mr. Goldman, an Aiken County businessman, took the Republican nomination with 58 percent, or 424 votes, while former councilwoman Fay Hatcher had 42 percent, or 312 votes.
Mr. Goldman will take on Kathy Rawls, the only Democrat, in a special election May 6. Ms. Rawls held the seat from 1986 to 1994.
"I'm going to (start campaigning) quickly," he said. "I'm going to hit the road as soon as I buy another pair of shoes with solid soles."
The seat opened up in January when Ms. Warner, who had been on the council since 1994, resigned to become the county's Registrar of Mesne Conveyance, who handles deeds and land holdings.
"The next (election's) going to be tough," Mr. Goldman said. "I don't know how to take on my opponent strategically."
The Republican said he plans to focus on visiting and telephoning voters in District 1. Being a good neighbor and personal contacts were the deciding factor in this campaign, especially in his home precinct, he said.
"People respond well to you (as a candidate) when you have a face-to-face meeting," he said.
In the five-candidate GOP primary two weeks ago, Mr. Goldman took 43 percent, or 300 votes, after effectively organizing his home precinct - Shiloh 34 near Windsor. He received 164 votes in that precinct.
On Tuesday, he mustered 176 votes in Shiloh 34.
Mr. Goldman's strength in Shiloh could be an advantage going into the general election, Ms. Hatcher said.
"They're two excellent people running," she said. "But if you can get out the vote like he did, you'll be hard to beat."
Not that Ms. Hatcher didn't do well at home.
She brought out voters in precincts that were traditionally strong for her when she served on the council from 1979 to 1986. She took 51 votes in White Pond 42, 62 votes in Wagener 39 and 83 votes in Windsor 43.
Mr. Goldman's campaign focused on improving dirt roads in District 1 and taking another look at the county's zoning ordinance. He also said he would like to see the area have a larger voice on the county council.
"Council is really controlled by (the cities)," he said. "Years ago, people in the Windsor-White Pond area had a good bit of political power, but that's gotten splintered. We need to come together again."
The Windsor man worked last year on an ad hoc subcommittee that streamlined Limited Development - a controversial zoning district recently adopted by the council. He is semiretired, but helps out his son Frankie at Goldman Distributors, a Windsor sporting goods store.
Ms. Hatcher served on the council as a Democrat, but lost it after becoming a Republican in 1986. Her campaign focused on experience, better dirt roads and lower taxes.
Some candidates attacked Ms. Hatcher during the primary because she still lives on Carolina Drive on Aiken's westside, which is in Council District 8. Opponents charged that someone not living in the district couldn't fully appreciate the problems there.
She owns a rental house on Mount Beulah Drive in Windsor and had planned to move into the district if she won the primary.
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