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O'Connell won't seek a second term

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Glen O’Connell’s first term on Georgetown County Council will also be his last. The Pawleys Island area resident, who represents District 6, announced this week that he won’t seek re-election.

“I’d been doing some serious looking at planning for a second term and it devolved from there to a basic question,” O’Connell said. He had to decide if he really wanted to devote another four years of his life to the demands of being a public official.

He said he has a number of things competing for his time and attention, and though his health is good, if he were re-elected, he’d be nearly 72 when his second term started.

“I feel good about having had the opportunity to be on council and the support of so many people,” O’Connell said. “I will miss it in many ways, but I think it’s time for me to move on.”

O’Connell, a Republican, said he chose to make the announcement now to give potential candidates plenty of time to make campaign plans. By this time in 2005, O’Connell’s campaign and fund-raising for the 2006 election were already well under way.

“I think people sometimes don’t recognize that though the election isn’t until next November, if there’s a primary, that’s in June, and you have to register as a candidate with your party before the end of March,” he said.

“Though it may seem very early, it’s really only about four months from today until a person has to have registered and declared themselves.”

Tom Swatzel, chairman of the Georgetown County Republican Party, said O’Connell will be difficult to replace.

“He has been dedicated to doing a great job on council, bringing with him a tremendous knowledge of financial matters,” he said.

However, the GOP will take advantage of O’Connell’s early announcement and begin recruiting candidates right away in an effort to ensure the party maintains its hold on District 6.

“District 6 is a solidly Republican district, one the county GOP is confident it can win again with the right candidate,” Swatzel said.

The county Democratic Party is already recruiting candidates, said Susan Smith, the party’s executive committeewoman, and she believes unrest among Republicans nationally will give Democrats an edge in the 2010 elections.

District 6 covers the area from Allston Plantation to Litchfield.

When the Georgetown County School Board had nonpartisan elections in single-member districts for the first time last year, candidates signed up to run on the first day of filing in every district except District 6. It was a week before someone finally signed up in District 6 after noting the lack of interest there.

District 6 ultimately ended up with three school board candidates.

Neither Swatzel nor Smith expects lack of interest to be a problem for District 6 in the council race.

“I think there will be a great deal of interest from people willing to serve on County Council,” said Swatzel, a former council member. “The actions of County Council have always been intensely followed by taxpayers and there seems to be a high degree of interest, so I don’t think it will be difficult to recruit candidates to run for that district.”

Smith said involvement from the parties will ensure interest in the race.

District 6 is one of three council districts up for election in 2010.

District 1, which runs from Litchfield to Murrells Inlet, is held by Jerry Oakley, council’s vice chairman. He said he will seek re-election.

District 7, which covers the Pleasant Hill area of Georgetown, is held by Council Chairman Johnny Morant. He said he will consider whether he wants to run for re-election after the holidays.

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