Stewart Wins Special Election

Walter Larry Stewart

Walter Larry Stewart

WINNSBORO – In November, a recount cut his deficit to a mere 4 votes. Tuesday night, Walter Larry Stewart needed no such recount, nor an official protest to stake his claim to the District 3 County Council seat.

In a stunning reversal of November’s results, which gave incumbent Mikel Trapp the narrow win, Stewart overthrew Trapp, 429 votes to 380.

The turnout was considerably lower than on Nov. 4, when Trapp pulled in 489 votes, Stewart 484 (485 after the ensuing mandatory recount) and Tangee Brice Jacobs, the third candidate on the ballot, 147.

Jacobs managed just 34 votes in Tuesday night’s do-over.

While the weather, the odd timing and the unprecedented nature of the special new election may have stunted turnout, the results, Stewart said, turned on campaign styles.

“We ran a good, clean, honest campaign,” Stewart said after the results became final. “My opponent slipped into all kinds of dirty tricks and falsehoods. My opponent played too many tricks, and it backfired on him. You can only play so many tricks and people will eventually see through what you’re doing.”

Nowhere was that more true, Stewart said, than in the Mitford precinct where Trapp mustered only 3 votes to Stewart’s 111. Stewart also fared well in Gladden Grove (Stewart 28, Trapp 4), Hickory Ridge (Stewart 45, Trapp 0, Jacobs 6) and White Oak (Stewart 58, Trapp 34, Jacobs 1), while holding a slight edge in Feasterville (Stewart 52, Trapp 46, Jacobs 13) and Horeb-Glenn (Stewart 21, Trapp 18, Jacobs 2).

Trapp’s largest support came in his back yard at the Blair precinct where he took in 134 votes to Stewart’s 34 and Jacobs’s 9.

With the election frenzy behind him, Stewart said it was time to begin focusing on the future of Fairfield County.

“Now it is time for healing,” Stewart said. “It is time for us to get past all the negativity we have heard over the last nine months. It is time to come together and work together to make Fairfield County a better place for our families.”

Stewart said his first mission will be to improve the quality of life for the county’s senior citizens, many of whom, he said, lack fresh water and live in substandard housing.

“We’ve got plenty of money in this county,” Stewart said. “We’ve got to start spending our money on the right things.”

Gov. Nikki Haley ordered the new election last December after the State Election Commission upheld a ruling by the Fairfield County Commission that at least five voters in the Nov. 4 election in District 3 had been given the incorrect ballot style. With the margin of victory at only 4 votes, the five incorrect ballots were enough to trigger a new election.

Election results will be certified Friday morning.

Information on when Stewart would take office was not available at press time. Phone calls to Trapp were also not returned at press time.