Voter turnout low for Aiken County Council Chairman election, stakes high for candidates

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – After more than two decades, someone new will be the chair of the Aiken County Council.

A Special Elections Republican Primary is being held to fill the seat vacated by Ronnie Young, who left the position to run for South Caroline state representative.

Now three candidates are vying for Young’s old job.

Voter turnout may be low, but the stakes are high for these Council Chairman candidates.

Republican Gary Bunker spent the day waving at cars outside of the Odell Weeks Center.

The former councilman is running on his proven leadership to the county and says if elected he plans to get the budget in order.

Aiken County has had a deficit of nearly $2 million dollars since the 2014 Ice Storm, that the state has failed to reimburse the county for.

“Until we get the budget balanced, truly balanced, everything everybody wants to talk about doing remains a pipe dream.” Bunker told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

On the other side of town, Republican Andrew Siders was shaking hands with his constituents at the Midway Grille in Warrenville.

The interim Chairman has been sitting in for Young, since he was elected state representative.

He says economic development will be the key to growing Aiken County and bringing in more businesses will be his main focus.

“If we can bring great economic development, great jobs to this area, a lot of the other things take care of themselves.” Siders said.

Republican candidate Chuck Smith was driving through town encouraging people to head to the polls.

The current District 4 Councilman says his goal is to improve the quality of life in Aiken County, so people can live, work and retire here.

“Those are the things I think are most important,” Smith said. “Making sure we are out there working on behalf of the people, and try to create good jobs and creating a safe public place to be able to raise your family and enjoy this community.”

It’s important to note that there are no democrats running for the position, so tonight’s primary winner becomes the defacto winner of the overall race.

If Smith or Siders is elected, there will be another race to fill their council seats.

The polls close at 7 p.m.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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