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Election 2010: Bob Anderson wins council election: Unopposed and eager to start

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Pawleys Island area voters elected Bob Anderson to be the newest member of Georgetown County Council in the Republican Primary this week, and the Heritage Plantation resident said he’s ready to get down to business.

“I’m going to start really doing my due diligence,” said Anderson, 65. “I’m going to be looking at where we are and issues that need to be taken care of next year.”

Anderson said he’ll do that by “trying to get as much one-on-one time as I can with the present members of council and doing more reading.”

Anderson, who owns Anderson Home Design and Sales, defeated Barry McCall, a retired Pawleys Island magistrate, 871 to 680.

With no Democratic Party candidate, Anderson is set to replace retiring District 6 Council Member Glen O’Connell in January, representing the area between Allston Plantation and Litchfield.

Anderson has had several meetings with O’Connell since he decided to run for council to talk about the district and the challenges of being a council member.

“He’s been very helpful in trying to bring me up to speed on the issues,” Anderson said. “What I’ve learned in a very short time is things aren’t as simple as they may seem. You’re dealing with federal and state mandates in many cases, so in many areas our hands are tied.”

People talk about states’ rights, but Anderson said county rights are also important.

“We send a lot of money to Columbia and they send it back and dictate how we have to spend it,” he said. “There are a lot of issues with that.”

He’s also concerned about county spending. The $61.2 million 2011 budget County Council approved this week included a shortfall of more than $500,000 that will be covered by the county’s reserve fund, and deficits are projected through 2013.

“There will be some tough decisions that have to be made,” Anderson said. “You’ve got basically two choices: you can raise taxes or cut spending. I’m a conservative Republican, so I’ll be looking at the latter.”

Anderson also plans to meet with “movers and shakers in the community” who can help him get acquainted with what has happened before and what’s going on now in the county, and help him get a jump on planning for the future.

“I’ll be meeting with a lot of people like that and learning all I can,” Anderson said. “I hope to be up to speed when I walk into the first meeting.”

Though no Democrat is running in the District 6 race, Anderson could still be defeated in November if a petition or write-in candidate decides to run. A petition candidate would need to sign up with the county’s Office of Voter Registration and Elections by July 16, said Donna Mahn, the county’s director of voters registration and elections.

A petition candidate would need signatures from 399 active voters in District 6 (5 percent of the district’s 7,971 registered voters) to be certified as a petition candidate, Mahn said.

At a meeting of the Pawleys Island Civic Club on Monday, Bill Murray tried to convince area Democrats to cross over and vote for McCall in the Republican Primary. Murray said he’d never voted for a Republican before, but it was important enough to him to have a say in who his County Council representative is to cross over this year.

“I am mindful of the Democratic candidates,” he said, “but I don’t care who wins.”

He would be happy with any of the Democratic candidates in office, he added, but he felt strongly that McCall was a better choice for District 6.

Several Democrats said they were convinced to vote in the Republican Primary and back McCall, but still, Anderson led McCall in three of the five Pawleys Island precincts, as well as in absentee ballots. McCall won in Precinct 2 at the Waccamaw Library and Precinct 4 at St. Mary’s AME Church.

Both candidates spent part of Tuesday making the rounds of polling locations and taking advantage of opportunities to speak to and be seen by voters. They were both at the Waccamaw Library at around noon when poll watchers asked Anderson to leave.

Anderson was standing by the library door, greeting voters. Candidates are allowed to be within 200 feet of polling locations, but are asked to leave if at least two complaints are received.

The first complaint came from Sue Mushock-Myers.

“I don’t think that’s right for him to be right outside the door like that, politicing,” she said. “I don’t think it’s ethical.

A few minutes later, McCall, who had been standing a few yards closer to the highway, issued a complaint and Anderson moved to his church, St. Paul’s United Methodist, where voters in Pawleys 1 were casting ballots.

Later that day, poll workers at the Waccamaw Library were treated to a concert. Tom Santopietro spotted the piano on one side of the room and started playing everything from Chopin to The Beatles.

“He said he hoped he wasn’t disturbing us,” said Rita Smith, poll manager for Pawleys 2. “We said, ‘no, this is great!’ ”

Poll watchers said there was a steady flow of people throughout the day Tuesday, and at some precincts, there was a line when polls opened at 7 a.m.

Pawleys 2 had the highest turnout on Waccamaw neck in the Democratic primary with about 5 percent and 121 ballots cast.

Pawleys 5 at Waccamaw High School had the highest voter turnout in the Republican primary, with 24 percent (574 ballots cast).

Turnout was about 15 percent countywide in the Republican primary with a little over 5,600 voters turning out, and about 9 percent in the Democratic primary, with about 3,550 voters.

Mahn said the elections went well, with only a few of the usual glitches.

Several residents at the Reserve Club complained their precinct was changed without notice being given. Mahn said notice was sent, and while she can’t say what happened to them once they were mailed out, the postal service didn’t notify her that they weren’t delivered.

There were also complaints of couples living at the same address being sent to different precincts. Mahn said that’s often because the couple moved and one person never updated their voter information.

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