The City of Nelson elected a new mayor during last night’s long-awaited general election. Mayoral Candidate Mike Haviland beat out opponent James Queen and write-in candidate Thad Thacker. Haviland won 64.60 percent of the vote, while Queen won 35.40, according to the Secretary of State website. Haviland will fill an un-expired term. In May of this year, then-mayor David Leister resigned from his position. Leister then ran for Pickens County Tax Commissioner last night, but lost, however, against Independent Incumbent Sharon Troglin, who won 51.90 percent of the vote, while Leister won 48.10 percent.
Since May, the Nelson city council has run the government by restructuring it with a strong council-weak mayor format. Also, this week council elevated City Clerk Brandy Edwards to city manager, empowering her with some decision-making authority for certain day-to-day items in the absence of the council.
In the district one commissioner race, Republican Jerry Barnes dominated Democrat Sally Sue Bradley; Barnes won 83.89 percent of the vote, where Bradley won a mere 16.11 percent. Barnes will be part of the newly structured government. The new board of commissioner will be comprised of Robert Jones as chairman, District One Commission Jerry Barnes, and District Two Commissioner Becky Denney.
Also, Pickens County voted 53.61 percent for the charter school amendment and 46.39 percent against. The new charter school amendment will create a state charter commission with the authority to approve charter applications otherwise denied by local boards of education.
Additionally, despite his defeat last night, Pickens County voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney, where Romney received 83.22 percent of the vote, Obama 15.59, and Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson, 1.19 percent.