Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – First term Lexington County Councilmember Erin Long Bergeson has been quoted publicly as saying she will not seek re-election when her term expires in December of 2020. She has represented the people of Council District 6 for the past four years. District 6 encompasses Chapin, parts of Irmo and Lexington.
Bergeson’s husband is apparently taking a job in Europe, according to friends who have spoken with her personally. This has also been circulated all over social media. At first it was said that she would stay in South Carolina and commute regularly to see him. That may now have changed. Either way, she’s said she wouldn’t have the time necessary to serve her district diligently as she has since being elected in 2016.
She has been very popular with many in the district since elected. She has fought hard and successfully to rezone and reclassify roads to try to slow the explosive growth in the area. Good growth was on her mind while speaking at a political town-hall meeting facilitated by the town of Chapin in 2019. She was joined on the stage by Chapin's Mayor David Knight and Lexington-Richland Five's School Board Member Ken Loveless. She drew some applause when she said emphatically, “Do we want to be another Irmo, NO!”
The first person that has already been quietly campaigning for her seat is the man that retired from council and endorsed Bergeson four years ago. Johnny Jeffcoat retired in 2016 in part because of his wife’s health. By the grace of God, her health has improved. In announcing his retirement to the public at a council meeting in ‘16, he didn’t call Bergeson by name as a fitting replacement. He did say he knew a young woman from Chapin that was an accountant. He also said she would be more than capable and perfect for the job. That described Bergeson to a T.
Several influential people in the District have been making phone calls to others asking them to get behind an elect Jeffcoat campaign. Jeffcoat was the councilmember who pushed for the county’s state-of-the-art technological park that was built off Columbia Avenue in Chapin.
At the time that the park was being debated and built, there were some who questioned the expensive, yet beautiful, water fountain at its first intersection. The park was supposed to be a public / private partnership with the Mungo Company who owns much of the land adjacent to the park. It was to be a one of a kind partnership that had the county build the Tech Park and Mungo develop the land around it with a mixture of business and residential occupancies. The Tech Park is complete. As of today, the Mungo Company’s hasn’t started “digging any dirt” around it, according to a town of Chapin official.
Some people in the town of Chapin are upset that the Park’s land was changed from inside Chapin’s town limits to outside of Chapin years ago. They say that was done at Jeffcoat’s request; this according to people who were involved when that happened. It was done by the government of the town at the time, not Jeffcoat. County government couldn’t take that step; it required the approval of the Chapin Town Council. The leadership of Chapin has changed several times since then. Other leaders said Jeffcoat was insistent on the annexation issue because he and others felt more businesses would locate in the park if they weren’t subject to Chapin’s Business License fees.
The campaigning for the seat will start after the first of the year. Normally, council seats in Lexington County are decided in the June Republican primary because no one files as a Democrat. At some point in the future, that may change. As more people moved to the area from the northeast portion of the nation to retire, the area is becoming less conservative and a bit more left leaning.