Close Call in Ridgeway

Election Comes Down to the Wire

RIDGEWAY (April 6, 2016) – The race to fill out the remaining two years on former Town Councilman Russ Brown’s seat turned into a genuine nail-biter Tuesday night, with only three votes separating the victor from the vanquished. The three-way race for the two four-year seats, meanwhile, were split between an incumbent and a newcomer.

Doug Porter edged out Rufus Jones for the two-year term, 47 votes to 44. Jones is a former mayor and town councilman. Porter had just finished a four-year term on Council, and his move to seek the remaining two years on Brown’s seat opened the door on a race for a pair of four-year terms.

“I’m glad to continue to serve on Council for another two years,” Porter said after Tuesday’s narrow win. “We’re going to move forward with what Council needs to do. We’re looking to find money to do what we need to do with our water department and at the Century House, and we’re looking into historical signs on the interstate.”

Incumbent Donald Prioleau earned the most votes Tuesday night with 59, sending him back to Council for another four years. Prioleau brought in the votes without even putting up the first yard sign. Instead, he said, he knocked on every door in Ridgeway, making personal contact with voters.

“I want to thank everyone for the support for these last 16-plus years, and I look forward to working with the citizens of Ridgeway for the next four years,” Prioleau said Tuesday. “We need to settle some things with the railroad and our police department. The arch at the old school needs to be stabilized and we need to work on our goals for that. Of course, I will continue to support the Arts on the Ridge and the Pig on the Ridge, and I ask for and am willing to accept any suggestions and input from the citizens of Ridgeway.”

Angela Harrison, Chairwoman of the Ridgeway Planning Commission, took the second four-year seat, beating out Tina Johnson, owner of Over The Top Emporium, 54 votes to 42.

Although Harrison could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, in her response to The Voice’s questionnaire last week, she noted Ridgeway’s biggest challenge as “growth.”

“As the town grows and buildings such as the fire department become available for rent, we need to make sure we preserve the look and feel of our town,” Harrison wrote last week. “That’s what attracts people to Ridgeway and keeps them here for generations. We need to unite Ridgeway with projects such as a community garden and beautification of the old school, along with the great festivals and events we already have. The more residents we can get charged up about our town, the more successful we’ll be at balancing progress and preservation.”

Tuesday night’s results included all absentee ballots, according to Debbie Stidham, Director of Fairfield County Voter Registration and Elections. Tuesday’s results will be officially certified by the Board of Voter Registration and Election Commission at 10 a.m. Friday at the Registration and Elections office at 315 S. Congress St., Winnsboro.


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