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Joe Shaw said he worked harder this election than in any of his other campaigns for office.
Shaw, who’s been Lancaster’s mayor for 28 years, won re-election to his eighth term in office on Tuesday. He said he looks forward to another four years of providing leadership and service to the city’s residents.
The mayor received 1,419 of the votes (54 percent) Tuesday.
City Councilwoman Linda Blackmon-Brace finished second with 924 votes (35 percent). Mary Helen Yarborough got 192 votes (7 percent) and Donnie Birchfield got 107 votes (4 percent).
Technical problems prevented all of the results from being available Tuesday night. The Lancaster County Election Commission will certify the results today.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Shaw said about the support. “I think the people have spoken. I personally want to thank everybody.”
Shaw, 76, was first elected mayor in 1978, after serving two years as a City Council member. He served as mayor until 1994, when he was defeated by Robert Mobley. But in 1998, Shaw was again elected mayor. He’s held the office ever since.
Much has changed since the late 1970s, though providing quality services has always been a focus in the city of Lancaster, Shaw said.
In his new term, Shaw said he wants to help the city secure more industry and continue to partner with county officials and Lancaster County Economic Development Corp.
Shaw said he’s happy to see six businesses occupying the Lancaster Business Park off S.C. 9 Bypass – which has brought nearly 400 jobs. Another 200 jobs are expected there over the next year.
Shaw is also looking forward to working with other local officials to turn about 1,000 acres of land near the county’s airport into an industrial park.
“We’re working on it,” Shaw said. “We got three prospects looking at the site.”
Reflecting and looking forward
Shaw said residents encouraged him to run for mayor shortly after he won his first city election in 1976. He was touted for being outspoken and dedicated to improving quality of life.
Shaw said those qualities have never waned over the years.
“It’s an honor,” he said about winning re-election. “I just took it four years at a time.”
But will this be Shaw’s last term as mayor?
He’s not sure.
He said there’s always a possibility he’ll run again, as long as he maintains his health. He’s saved all of his 2010 campaign signs, just in case he has to bring them out four years from now.
“I got ‘em ready. Never say never,” he said.
Blackmon-Brace came up short in her quest for mayor for a second time. She also vied for the post against Shaw in 2006.
On Thursday, Blackmon-Brace said she thought this year’s mayor’s race went well and featured no negative campaigning from any of the candidates.
She’s disappointed in the outcome, but extended congratulations to Shaw.
“I’m saddened, but happy for the mayor,” Black-mon-Brace said. “If it’s anybody that loves the city as much as I do, I know it’s him.”
Blackmon-Brace said she doesn’t know if she’ll run for mayor again, but said she knows she’ll continue to help get more local residents registered to vote.
She said she has no regrets about this year’s race.
“I can say nobody worked harder than me,” she said. “I just feel like I gave it my all.”
Blackmon-Brace will continue to serve on City Council with Shaw. Her council term doesn’t expire until 2012.
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152