Defeated Salley incumbent mayor contesting election results 1

Salley Mayor Nathan R. "Bob" Salley is contesting the results of Tuesdays mayoral race in the town. A write-in candidate received four votes than he did.

The 92-year-old incumbent who lost the mayor’s race in Salley on Tuesday is contesting the results of the election.

Aiken County Registration and Elections Executive Director Cynthia Holland told the Aiken Standard on Wednesday afternoon that Nathan R. “Bob” Salley had notified her of his intent by fax and email.

In addition, Holland said that Leah Shackleford, a losing candidate for seat 4 on Salley’s town council, is contesting the results of that race.

The Registration and Elections office received Shackleford’s notification via email, Holland said.

Hearings before Aiken County’s Registration and Elections board are scheduled for Monday at the Aiken County Government Center.

The first will begin at 10 a.m., and the other will be held afterward.

Holland said she didn’t know yet the order of the hearings or where exactly in the Government Center they would take place.

Salley, who is a World War II and Korean War veteran, was the only candidate who filed to run in the Town of Salley’s mayoral race.

But LaDonna Hall was the winner because she received 44 write-in votes compared to Salley’s total of 38 votes.

The Registration and Elections office reported Tuesday night that Hall had received 39 votes, unofficially, but a hand count of the ballots revealed that five more votes should be added to her total, Holland said.

Salley was elected as the town’s mayor for the first time in 1994, and he has held the position ever since.

Hall originally had filed as a candidate for seat 4 on Salley’s town council, and she received five votes in that race Tuesday.

The seat 4 winner was Cassandra Hicks Brown with 49 votes.

Shackleford received 45.

Holland said Salley and Shackleford indicated they were contesting their races for multiple reasons.

When asked for specifics about those candidates’ concerns, Holland said she didn’t want to talk about them until after she received signed copies of Salley and Shackleford’s complaints.

Salley told the Aiken Standard on Wednesday that four people who said they supported him allegedly were “refused the right to vote” Tuesday. His other complaints, he said, concerned the proximity of a candidate’s close relative to a polling manager at a precinct and identification issues involving candidates outside of a polling place.

In addition, Salley told the Aiken Standard he was surprised and disappointed by the results of the election.

“The one that supposedly – quote, unquote – beat me filed for a council seat and did not say anything about running for mayor,” Salley said. “I think – and it’s a supposition on my part – that if she had filed to start with for mayor, we would have had a much better turnout for the election, and I think I would have won with no problem.”

Hall described herself as a political newcomer in an interview with the Aiken Standard on Wednesday.

She grew up in the Salley area.

“I left to go to school,” Hall said, “and then I came back with my husband (Eric) eight years ago.”

After filing to run for seat 4 on Salley’s town council, “I just decided kind of at the last minute to take on this venture (of seeking the mayor’s seat as a write-in candidate), and it happened,” Hall said.

She added that she and her supporters “went door-to-door asking the citizens to write me in as mayor.”

Hall’s decision to become politically involved in Salley was motivated by a desire for change.

“We’re a small town, and there are many changes that can be made,” she said. “We haven’t seen any changes in quite some time. My husband and I decided that I would run and see if we could get the town to support me in making changes and in kind of bringing things up to date. The people voted and decided they trusted me with being able to do that.”

Hall is a chief financial officer.

“I work as a contractor for a company in Aiken,” she said.

According to the Registration and Elections office, 45.78% of Salley’s registered voters cast ballots Tuesday.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.