Mayor who quit in 2010 wins election by 4 votes - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Mayor who quit in 2010 wins election by 4 votes

Mayor-elect Jim Preacher Mayor-elect Jim Preacher
Mayor Cindy Williams Mayor Cindy Williams
The certified vote totals. The certified vote totals.

NORWAY, SC (WIS) - 4 votes -- that's what decided the Norway mayor's race Tuesday night and the election went to a man who held that office, but resigned the day he took the oath in 2010.

Incumbent Cindy Williams lost the race Tuesday night to Jim Preacher by a count of 68-64.

After getting the news, current Norway Mayor Cindy Williams left town hall Thursday without saying much.

Jody Barr: "Anything you want to say about the certification Mrs. Williams?" Williams: "No, I'd rather not." Barr: "Do you agree with the election commission's decision?" Williams: "We'll see, I have to see. It's just questionable. Things are questionable." Barr: "It's a 4 vote difference. Do you plan to protest this?" Williams: "Well, I think it ought to be looked at further. Thank you."

Williams wanted 8 provisional ballots to be opened and counted Tuesday morning, but the election commission threw them out because those voters didn't follow the rules.

Jim Preacher's first hours as Norway's mayor in201 were also his last. Just after he took the oath in January, he resigned. He did so because he was also serving as Ehrhardt's police chief, which is a violation of the state's dual office law.

Mayor-elect Preacher started his celebration Thursday with an apology. "I want to apologize for the embarrassment in the last swearing in," said Preacher Thursday. "I shouldn't have done what I did."

Since 2010, Preacher has found himself at the center of 2 SLED investigations. The first came about after Mayor Williams reported allegations to law enforcement that Preacher had illegally tapped into a town water line and used the water to fill his fishing pond. SLED never proved the claims.

Agents again investigated Preacher after he left his position in Ehrhardt because his $700 bulletproof vest went missing. SLED never tied that to Preacher either.

"I don't want you to take this the wrong way, we've had so much controversy here and I guess I've caused some of it," Preacher said

Now Preacher says he's ready to lead. He'll take office in January.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved.

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