New Mount Pleasant mayor has Sumter roots

Adapted from the Charleston Post and Courier
Posted 11/9/17

A former Sumter resident was elected Tuesday to be the new mayor of Mount Pleasant.

Will Haynie, a current Mount Pleasant councilman, routed incumbent Linda Page in the mayoral race, capping a contest dominated by development issues and marred by …

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New Mount Pleasant mayor has Sumter roots

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A former Sumter resident was elected Tuesday to be the new mayor of Mount Pleasant.

Will Haynie, a current Mount Pleasant councilman, routed incumbent Linda Page in the mayoral race, capping a contest dominated by development issues and marred by dirty tricks.

Haynie defeated Page by a 2-1 margin, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting. Turnout topped 25 percent.

Haynie, 56, is a graduate of Wilson Hall in Sumter and is a marketing and public relations consultant. He was elected to a four-year Town Council term in 2015, and he decided to run for mayor 11 months later.

As mayor, he will still have one of nine votes on Town Council - but he'll get an office at Town Hall, command the bully pulpit and draw a larger paycheck.

Mount Pleasant's rapid growth and development were "the only issue" in the election, Haynie said in a Post & Courier interview. He proposed a moratorium on all residential development, among other growth-restricting measures.

In the final week of the race, controversy erupted over a newspaper ad against Haynie "paid for" by a person who turned out to not exist. The funding of campaign mailings attacking Page was undisclosed, and a racially tinged anonymous flier targeting Page was distributed.

Haynie also filed a lawsuit against political opponents over a Facebook post. Both candidates denied involvement in the anonymous ads.

Page, 51, an auctioneer and operator of Page's Thieves Market, served a term on Town Council and was seeking re-election to a second four-year term as mayor before Tuesday's defeat.

"The people in this town don't want any more growth and any more development, and they just want to stop it," she said Tuesday night after it was clear she had lost. "That's on him now. I hope he's able to do what he promised."

The Post and Courier in Charleston contributed to this report.