Incumbents Mayor Hardy King, Councilmen Julius ‘Bunny’ Waites and Mark Pouliot were noticeably absent from a candidate forum held on Thursday, October 24. The forum was attended by nearly 100 Irmo residents that were given an opportunity to listen to the candidates running for mayor and town council. Local businessman Robbie Robertson held the event at the Tin Zoo and BBQ located at 7709 St. Andrews Road in Shoppers Walk.

“It was an open invitation to all eight of the candidates they all knew about,” said Robertson. “I wish all of them could have been here to speak because it was an opportunity for the locals to get to know who’s running and where they stand.”

Councilman Barry Walker and Mike Ward, both with bids for mayor, along with Kelly Busch, Erik Sickinger and Dan Newbanks, who are running for council, were given five minutes to speak to the audience. All were passionate about seeing changes in Irmo and addressing unity on council.

The candidates running for two council seats this Nov. 5 are Mike Busch who said, “We don’t need to change Irmo, we just need to change the way we govern it.” Dan Newbanks focused on property rights and the efficiency of law enforcement while Erik Sickinger believes that Irmo deserves better than the way it is currently being governed.

The mayoral candidates included Mike Ward who spoke about bringing respect back to leadership in Irmo and Councilman Barry Walker spoke about reaching out to residents by listening and building better relationships in the community.

King, who’s running for re-election as mayor, and Waites and Pouliot, also running to keep their council seats, are promoting themselves as a team in their campaigns. The three have been putting campaign signs together on lawns and are being promoted as a team in King’s campaign mailings.

Irmo will vote for a mayor and two council seats on Tuesday, November 5.