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Voters in Simpsonville seem happy with their veteran city commissioners.
They voted overwhelmingly to return to office four incumbents who have served as one commission since 2008, when Sharon Cummins first was elected.
Vicky Wise, who has served on the commission since 1996, overcame a year of health problems to earn re-election, and she will be joined again by Scott McDowell, Cary Vowels and Cummins. Mayor Steve Eden, who has served 18 years, is in the middle of his 4-year term.
McDowell, who has been out of town on business and unable to campaign widely, garnered 587 votes to lead the way. Wise received 584, Vowels 564 and Cummins 558. Challenger Michael Hesse had 492 votes.
The four incumbents had been elected without challenge in 2010, but Vowels said his experience in the 2008 election – in which he lost by one vote only to regain the seat when Dottie Shelburne decided to resign – helped push him in this election.
“I put in a lot of work to contact everyone in town,” Vowels said at Tuesday night’s commission meeting. I’m happy that the hard work paid off. I even posted stuff on Facebook to let people know about me.”
Cummins, who also attended the meeting – McDowell and Wise were absent – said she was “very excited about the upcoming term.
“I hope to continue the progress and growth throughout the city and to keep us safe,” she said. “I just want to thank everyone.”
Hesse, a former chairman of the city’s sewer board, had run on a candidacy that his experience as a civil engineer would be important as the city begins to deal with the very real possibility that two outlet malls will be built on its south side.
But in the end, familiarity was the deciding factor in this small town that has seen one of the state’s fastest-growing populations since 2000.
Most of those property owners who would be affected by the outlet malls – one set of plans have been approved by Horizon Group Properties and a second is being pursued by Paragon Outlet Development – do not live within the city’s limits have had no recourse during the election.