Rincon residents were happy with the city’s direction, said city council incumbents who were re-elected to their seats Tuesday.
Veteran council members Reese Browher and Paul Wendelken successfully defended their posts Tuesday and will be joined by newcomer James Dasher, a former Effingham County Board of Education member.
“It was a lot of going door-to-door,” Wendelken said of his campaigning, “and a lot of them said they like the direction the city is going. A lot of them liked the fact we don’t have a city property tax. Most of them were supportive of our efforts with the golf course. They wanted to make sure we continued along those lines.”
The city purchased the Lost Plantation Golf Course and has installed an irrigation system that uses re-use water from its wastewater treatment plant. That, city officials have said, will alleviate pressure from the state Environmental Protection Division and give the city an outlet for its reuse water.
Wendelken was the leading vote-getter out of 485 ballots cast, receiving 243 votes. Browher was second with 237 and Dasher was third with 188. He will assume the seat being vacated by Ken Baxley, a former council member appointed to fill the unexpired term of Ann Daniel.
Greg Brunson was fourth with 169 votes, with Harry Capwell garnering 151 votes, Teresa Witt getting 121 votes and former Rincon mayor George Saraf earning 80 votes.
Browher said his door-to-door campaigning revealed a positive outlook on the city from those who talked to about the election.
“I had positive responses,” he said.
Dasher also said the results show the residents are satisfied with how the city is being led.
“For the most part, everybody is pleased with where we are right now,” he said. “And that shows with two incumbents going back in.”
Capwell, however, said there are many in the city who do seek a change in leadership but they also have to enact that change.
“I’m kind of really shocked at the outcome,” he said. “I thought people wanted different people in office. A lot of the community who I talked to wanted change. But they’ve got to get out to vote to do it.”
Capwell said he will stay involved.
“The next time it comes around, I’ll run again,” he said.
With seven candidates in the election, it was a nervous campaign.
“You never know all along how you’re doing,” Wendelken said. “You keep pushing and plugging away.”
Said Browher: “I am grateful for the people of Rincon allowing me to serve. I work for them. I wish I could have gotten to more houses.”
Dasher, though he’s run for office before, was still anxious about how this would turn out.
“Mr. Charlie Heidt used to say, there’s only two ways to run — unopposed and scared,” Dasher said. “I’m grateful for the voters giving me some trust, and I’m looking forward to serving with (Mayor) Ken (Lee) and the rest of the council.
Wendelken also expressed his happiness that campaigning is over — for another four years.
“It’s exciting, and I’m relieved,” he said. “I’m just thankful for the ability to continue on and thankful for everybody who supported me.”