Council incumbent unseated; District 6 faces runoff


Voters in Batesburg-Leesville have unseated a 20-year veteran of Town Council, and another Council seat is headed toward a runoff.

Political newcomer Johnnie Mae Speach-Lemon defeated incumbent Councilman Charles Simpkins 64 votes to 41 in balloting Tuesday to win the District 4 seat. Councilman Simpkins was first elected to Town Council in 1999 and is currently serving as mayor pro tem.

The District 6 seat is as yet undecided as Chris Derrick and Paul Wise will face off in a runoff election in two weeks. Mr. Wise picked up 56 votes to Mr. Derrick’s 37, but that margin does not meet the necessary criteria of 50 percent of the total votes plus 1. Twonna Williamson also ran in District 4 and finished a distant third.

Bob Hall apparently won the District 8 seat 59 votes to 51 over Eric Gambrell. However, eight provisional ballots from Saluda County residents living inside the Town limits in the Bobcat Road area were cast but will not be counted or certified by Lexington County Registration & Elections until Thursday. If by chance ALL of those Saluda County provisionals are certified as votes for Mr. Gambrell, the race would end in a tie and a runoff would be required in that race in two weeks.

Veteran incumbent Councilman Olin Gambrell ran unopposed to retain his District 2. There were two write-ins; no word yet on whether those went to Mickey Mouse.

For more coverage of this election, pick up the print edition of The Twin-City News this Thursday.

Staff Reports / Published November 5, 2019