Graniteville's Phil Napier wins primary in race for council seat

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Graniteville-Vauclue-Warrenville Volunteer Fire Chief Phil Napier has defeated his Republican challengers in the primary election for the Aiken County Council District 6 seat.

The district includes parts of Aiken, along with Graniteville, Warrenville, Gloverville and other smaller areas. The seat was vacated back in November when Councilman Charles Barton was elected Aiken County auditor.

Napier faced John McMichael, who works in the insurance agency. He also faced off against Lynette Lowe Barton, the wife of the councilman who vacated the seat.

Napier had 51.5 percent of the vote compared to McMichael's 41.5 percent. Barton had about 7 percent of the vote. There will not be a runoff, but the general election will be in March.

McMichael had a strong showing in the several Aiken precincts. However, Napier saw overwhelming support in Breezy Hill, Graniteville and Warrenville.

Overall, as expected, turnout was very low. Several smaller precincts had zero ballots cast all day.

McMichael attributes Napier's win to the low turnout, along with Napier's name recognition, since he's served on council before. He says he'll continue to be active throughout the community. He told News 12 that he's yet to decide whether he'll face off against Napier in the March election as an Independent write-in candidate.

Napier tells News 12 he's thankful for all his support. He says the win shows how many friends he has and that he'll be the voice of the taxpayer. Napier says he'll work well with Council Chairman Ronnie Young, even though Young actively supported McMichael.

"I want taxpayers to come to me. I want taxpayers to come to the county council meetings and voice their opinions. If they aren't in favor of a project, stand up and tell it," Napier said.

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