Eight candidates file for council, mayor seat

BLYTHEWOOD – Eight town residents have filed for elective office in the upcoming Nov. 5 municipal elections – three candidates for mayor and five candidates for two at-large town council seats. The filing period ended Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Filing to run for the four-year term of mayor are: former Blythewood Mayor Keith Bailey and town council members Bryan S. Franklin and Malcolm P. Gordge.

Filing to run for the two four-year term council seats are: incumbent Eddie Baughman, Barry J. Belville, planning commission chair Donald Beaton Brock, Jr., planning commissioner Sloan Jarvis Griffin, III and former planning commissioner Marcus Taylor.

Mayoral Candidates

Bailey, Franklin and Gordge are all residents of the Ashley Oaks neighborhood.

Bailey, a retired Army major and former mayor of Blythewood, began his municipal government career when he applied for the planning commission in 2002.  He was elected to the town council, serving from 2004-08, and then elected mayor, serving from 2008-12. Bailey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Hampton University in Virginia. His wife is Marilyn Bailey, and they have three grown sons who graduated from Blythewood High School.

Franklin, retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel, has served three years on the planning commission and the third year as chairman. He was elected to town council two years ago. Franklin graduated from the Citadel in 1990. He is married to Desde mona Franklin, and they have three grown children and five children still at home attending Blythewood schools.

Gordge, a retired mechanical engineer, is a native of England. Gordge has lived in Blythewood since 2004. He served on the town’s planning commission for three years beginning February, 2013 and as chairman during 2014. He was elected to town council in November of 2015.  Gordge attended Gloucestershire College of Art and Technology in the United Kingdom and was awarded a Higher National Certificate (equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree) in Mechanical Engineering. Gordge is married to Emily Gordge, and they have a grown son, Zac.

Council Candidates

Baughman, a Navy veteran and retired from the Columbia Fire Department, was elected to town council in 2014 to fill the unexpired term of Roger Hovis who resigned to become a Richland County Sheriff’s deputy. Baughman was re-elected to a full four-year term in 2016. He currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem. A resident of the Lake Ashley area, Baughman is married to Donna Baughman and they have two grown children.

Belville, the assistant athletic director for the Lexington Recreation and Aging Commission, lives in Cobblestone Park. A six-year resident of Blythewood, Belville said he has no political experience. He is married to Lindsay Belville and has three children ages 8, 5 and 2.

Brock, an investment accountant with Public Employee Benefits Authority, has served on the town’s planning commission since 2016 and currently serves as chairman. He ran for mayor in 2017. Brock holds a Masters in Accountancy from the University of South Carolina. He is married to Mary Sternick Brock, and they have three children who attend Blythewood schools.

Griffin is emergency preparedness coordinator II for SC DHEC. He has lived in Blythewood for three years and was appointed to the planning commission in October of last year. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Emergency Management from Kaplan University and is working toward a Master’s degree in public administration.  Griffin is married to Tennille Griffin and they are expecting their first child in October.

Taylor, a self-employed structured wire technician, served on the planning commission from 2006-18. He lives in Dawson’s Creek and studied criminal justice at South University in Columbia. Taylor is married to April and they have two grown children and one child at home.

Candidate Forum

The Voice will publish campaign statements from each candidate in early October. A candidate forum, hosted by The Voice newspaper, will be held at Doko Manor on Oct. 24.

Register to Vote

The last day to register to vote in person for this election is Saturday, Oct. 5, by 12 noon. Voter registration by mail must be postmarked no later than Monday, Oct. 7. Voter Registration online, fax or by email must be entered no later than Sunday, Oct. 6, by 11:59 pm.

To register to vote or to obtain absentee ballots, contact the Richland County Voter Registration Office, 2020 Hampton Street, Columbia, S.C. Absentee ballots may be requested by calling the Voter Registration Office at 576-2240. In-Person absentee voting will begin Monday, Oct. 7 at 2020 Hampton Street.

The Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The polling place for all precincts in this election – Blythewood 1, Blythewood 2, Blythewood 3, Longcreek and Ridgeway (Fairfield County) – will be at Blythewood Park, 126 Boney Road in Blythewood.