By Al Dozier

It won’t just be Hardy King and Barry Walker Sr. in the race for mayor in Irmo.

A third candidate, Mike Ward, has filed for the office.

Ward was considered a likely candidate for a council but decided to run for mayor after hearing a lot of people ask him to upgrade his challenge.

“I gave it a lot of thought and a lot of prayer and decided I would be more effective as mayor,” he said.

Ward said Irmo is a great town, but has challenges that diminish the quality of life, such as the front-yard parking ordinance.

“That issue led me to get involved in our local politics,” he said. “Since becoming involved, I see the need for change. I hear the frustration in people’s conversations and cry for change when I talk to my fellow citizens.”

Ward describes his occupation at that of a professional entrepreneur in the areas of technology and insurance sales.

King, who operates King’s Furniture revival in Irmo, is seeking a third term as mayor. He was first elected to Town Council in 2005 and was elected mayor in 2011.

Walker, who is often at odds with King, was first elected to council in 2004. He was re-elected for a fourth term in 2017. His term on council does not expire for another two years, so he could retain his seat on council even if he is defeated in the mayor’s race

Walker, now retired, is the former owner of Mac’s on Main restaurant. He has twice run unsuccessfully for the mayor’s post.

Final filings show five candidates are seeking two council seats, including incumbents Julius Waites and Mark Pouliot. Challengers are Dan Newbanks, Erik Sickinger and Kelly Busch.

Busch has made two unsuccessful bids for a council seat in the past.

Newcomers Newbanks and Sickinger have often showed up at council meetings and communicated the need for changes.