Fort Mill, Tega Cay see swell of candidates for November elections

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comSeptember 10, 2013 

— Local voters are going to have some decisions to make come November.

Candidate filing ended last week for municipalities throughout York County. In Fort Mill and Tega Cay there are six spots open, including mayor and two Council seats in Tega Cay, and three Council seats in Fort Mill.

Three candidates filed for mayor in Tega Cay. Incumbent George Sheppard, current Councilman Ron Kirby and challenger Larry Pritchard square off Nov. 5. Six candidates – Dottie Hersey, Lisa Marie Johnson, Walter Krasinski, David O’Neal, Jennifer Stalford and Phillip Zima – vie for two Council posts.

In Fort Mill, incumbents Nathan Blythe and Guynn Savage run unopposed for their seats, while challenger Julia Beilsmith filed to take on incumbent Larry Huntley for the Ward 3 spot.

Town growth and the needed infrastructure accompanying it are concerns for Beilsmith.

“I’ve been a public servant for most of my life,” said Beilsmith, an engineer with a Huntersville, N.C. water and wastewater company who moved to Fort Mill less than two years ago. “With the development, I thought my history would help.”

Huntley began on Council after winning a 2007 special election to fill the seat of late Councilman L.A. Graham. Huntley won by 18 votes and hasn’t faced opposition in an election since.

“I called myself ‘Landslide Huntley’ after that,” joked the Councilman.

Huntley takes pride in not taking campaign contributions. He’s also turning to his voting record as a call to re-election.

“As most incumbents, I’ll run on my record,” Huntley said. “I’m proud of what I’ve done.”

In Tega Cay, many of the filings came late. Pritchard, an Army veteran and commander of the Tega Cay Veterans Association, filed in the final days to challenge Sheppard and Kirby for mayor. Pritchard says his executive career includes managing budgets upwards of $36 million, and that Tega Cay “is entering a critical growth tipping point” requiring veteran leadership.

“You want to make sure you’re not mortgaging your future for the sake of growth,” he said.

Discussions are ongoing between Tega Cay officials and the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce on a candidate forum. As of Monday morning, a date hadn’t been set.

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