Irmo, SC (Paul Kirby) – The citizens of the Town of Irmo have spoken at the polls and have elected Barry Walker to serve as their mayor for the next four years. They made their decision from a field of three, King the incumbent, Councilman Walker, and a political newcomer Mike Ward.
Long serving Councilmember Barry Walker and the incumbent Mayor Hardy King, thought they might go head-to-head to settle a long running feud between the two about how the town should be governed. Only toward the end of summer did they learn that newcomer Ward, once thought to be running for council, would challenge them for the mayoral position.
Ward called himself an innovator and peacemaker and expressed hope that if he was elected, he would be able to build a bridge of cooperation in the town that has seen lots of drama between King and Walker. The pair have openly argued during council meetings and their disagreements had gotten to the point that the council passed new rules governing their meetings recently. One point in those guidelines detailed how a disruptive councilmember could be removed from meetings if necessary.
King and Walker have made no secret of their disdain for each other. Councilmember Walker even went so far as to announce he would challenge the mayor in Tuesday’s election when he was reelected to council several years ago.
King was recently quoted in an article in The State newspaper as saying if he was reelected, his first priority would be to get rid of Walker. This is something that King called a “misquote” by the reporter when he recently appeared on The Lexington Ledger’s Good Morning Lexington County program last Friday. He said he wasn’t planning on trying to get rid of Walker, rather he was referring to the new regulations that would allow Walker to be removed from a meeting if he became a problem.
In the end, the citizens of Irmo made it clear that they were ready for a change and would trust Walker with the leadership of the town. They cast 384 votes for Walker, 177 votes for King, and Ward received 136 votes. The count is proof that Ward was not a spoiler as he and King’s total votes still fell short of Walker’s.
In addition to electing Walker mayor, the council saw a change from incumbents that often voted with King. Eric Sickenger ousted incumbent Mark Pouliot while Kelly Busch crushed another incumbent Councilmember Julius Waites. Sickinger received 400 votes against Pouliot’s 218. Busch took 356 votes easily beating Waites who had just 198 ballots cast in his favor.
Mike Ward said last week on Good Morning Lexington County that if he lost Tuesday, he would file to run for Walkers seat when the special election is scheduled.