Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – This story was updated at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday morning. There were no significant changes in the way the races fell.
Several open seats on Lexington County’s Council were in play Tuesday night. This year was different than most as the two that were contested did not include the incumbents. Neither of those was running for reelection.
In Council District 5 which includes Red Bank, South Congaree, and a part of Lexington, it seems as if Gene “Bimbo” Jones prevailed with 2,424 votes cast for him by 6:20 a.m. Wednesday. His opponent Joel Tyson grabbed 1,558 votes himself, short of what he needed to prevail. These two have always been friends and by 9:15 p.m. Tuesday night, there were reports the pair had talked and Tyson had congratulated Jones on his apparent win.
In the more hotly contested race for Lexington County Council District 6, the Chapin area and parts of Irmo and Lexington, the early results show former Lexington County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat being defeated by a nearly unknown Charli Wessinger. Wessinger received 3,556 votes by 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, while Jeffcoat trailed closely with 2,664 votes garnered for himself.
This race was marred by a late dirty political move that painted Wessinger as so far left, she fell off the edge of the earth. Jeffcoat flatly denied he did this, but the blow back from that still landed squarely in his face. Either it was an idiotic move by a Jeffcoat supporter, or a brilliant move on the part of someone backing Wessinger. Either way, it brought Wessinger from an unknown to someone who became a household name instantly.
Baggage from previous service may have also hurt Jeffcoat. When you serve in politics for as many years as Jeffcoat has, you’re bound to make some people angry, that’s just a part of the game. In the end, Lexington County voters kept to their history’s norm. They tend to support their sweet, smart ladies who serve; look toward Councilmember Debbie Summers or Coroner Margaret Fisher, both as safe in their positions as a baby in its mother’s arms. It seems as if their positions, although well-earned, are theirs to one day step away from, not lose to a challenger who dares criticize them in any way.
Although the District 6 race may change after we turn in for the night, at this point it seems a done deal and the 2021 council will have two distinct opposite members that will need to integrate themselves with the other members already there. We’ll have to wait until after the first of the year to see how well that will work.