Salley's 92-year-old mayor lost his seat to a write-in candidate by 5 votes. What happened, and what's next for Salley?

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

LaDonna Hall got enough votes to beat out incumbent Mayor Bob Salley, Jr. by five votes. (Source: WRDW)

SALLEY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- The man whose who's been the mayor of Salley, South Carolina since 1994 lost in this week's election to a write-in candidate.

LaDonna Hall got enough votes to beat out incumbent Mayor Nathan 'Bob' Salley, Sr. by five votes.

Salley, Sr. wasn’t just a mayor, he did a lot more for the town. In fact, he does a little bit of everything, and his life has been quite the journey.

He's a World War II veteran and a Korean War veteran. Now, he sure means a lot to his small town.

Salley is so small it isn’t even a one stoplight town. There’s 280 residents, and of course their 92-year-old mayor.

“This little ol’ town means an awful lot to me,” Salley said. “Got some good people here.”

Salley's family started the town in 1887. As mayor, he's at town hall every day at 7 a.m., beating the town clerk to the office.

"He's here before I'm at work,” town clerk Maree Taylor said. “He goes out to read meters. He's out with Jeremy doing certain maintenance things. Today they hung Christmas lights."

He's also the water systems operator and sometimes mows the grass. Lately, they've even been testing walkie talkies for the annual Chitlin Strut. Cell phones don't really work in town.

"I've done my best to do my best to help the town in any way, shape, fashion or form I could,” Salley said.

But, his 25 years as mayor may be coming to an end. Write-in candidate LaDonna Hall won the seat Tuesday. She actually filed to run for town council, so Salley is contesting the vote.

“If they file for it, they oughta' have to run for it and not anything else,” Salley said.

If the appeal doesn't work out, locals will miss him -- especially at one of his favorite spots, Dixiana Wholesale.

“It's his passion,” Karen Fish, Dixiana Wholesale’s owner, said. “He loves this town. He did it with his heart. He did mayor with his heart."

Whatever happens, Mayor Salley is at peace.

“The world ain’t coming to an end by the fact that the Salley’s are not a mayor,” Salley said.

But, the town of Salley will feel quite strange without a Mayor Salley.

We tried to get in touch with LaDonna Hall, reaching out to her husband and few other people close to the family, but we never heard anything back.

Hall is the first African-American and first woman mayor in Salley.

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