Six file in city council races
by The Press and Standard | September 12, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: September 11, 2019 at 9:52 am
Hurricane Dorian did little to shrink the number of candidates for the three Walterboro City Council posts up for election in the Nov. 5 election.
When the Walterboro Election Commission met to certify the candidates the afternoon of Sept. 6, they approved a six-candidate ballot.
Judy Bridge, Bobby Bonds and Paul Siegel currently hold the council seats on the ballot.
Bonds has decided not to seek re-election to a third term on council, while Siegel and Bridge filed the paperwork to seek a return to council.
Four candidates — Gale Doggette, Edward Ladson Fishburne, Marguerite Chrissy Johnson and Emma Levine — round out the general election ballot.
Walterboro’s statement of candidacy period for the Nov. 5 ballot began on Aug. 27.
Bridge was the first to file, arriving at city hall with her election packet at 12:21 p.m. on Aug. 27.
She was followed about two hours later by Johnson, who filed the necessary paperwork and turned over the $254.60 filing fee at 3:37 p.m.
Siegel visited City Hall with his candidacy paperwork on Aug. 29 at 9:52 a.m.
On Aug. 30, Fishburne turned in his paperwork on Aug. 30 at 12:34 p.m.
After the city’s end of business on Aug. 30, the Labor Day weekend began. City Hall was closed for the holiday, and filing for candidacy would have to wait until City Hall reopened on Sept. 3.
That didn’t happen — Hurricane Dorian did.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of the county. His designation closing state offices and Colleton County Schools resulted in the closing of the governmental offices of Walterboro and Colleton County.
Because of the weather, no one was at City Hall to receive the statements of candidacy from anyone else seeking to file.
City Manager Jeff Molinari, attempting to ease the problem by extending the filing deadline, contacted the South Carolina Election Commission.
He was told that there were no provisions in state law to extend the filing period. The filing deadline would have to end at 5 p.m. on Sept. 6.
Molinari then moved to Plan B in his bid to ensure that those wishing to run would be afforded that chance.
He had a message posted on the city’s web and Facebook pages explaining the situation and asking anyone interested in running for city council to contact him by email or telephone to obtain a candidate packet.
Molinari said one potential candidate did contact him to obtain the necessary paperwork.
Doggette arrived at City Hall 16 minutes after City Hall reopened on Sept. 6 to file her paperwork.
Levine became the sixth council candidate on Sept. 6 at 2:25 p.m.
Siegel and Bonds joined Walterboro City Council following the 2011 election. Incumbent Randy Peters was re-elected in that same election.
Bridge was elected in a 2013 special election to fill out the remaining two years on Peters’ term following his death.
Bridge, Bonds and Siegel were unopposed in the 2015 election.
Johnson, who will appear on the ballot as Chrissy Johnson, mounted an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 2017, collecting 333 votes in her bid to unseat Mayor Bill Young.
Doggette. who formerly served as director of the South Carolina Artisan Center, spend a short time as a member of the Colleton County School Board, representing the Second District. She resigned that post after moving out of the Second District.
Levine, who substitute teaches since retiring from the South Carolina Department of Social Services, is making her first bid for public office.
Fishburne is also making his first bid for public office — he will appear on the ballot as Ladson Fishburne.
The youngest candidate, Fishburne has spearheaded a revitalization of Keep Colleton Beautiful.