The City of Aiken Municipal Election Commission formally accepted Republican candidate Sunny O'Donovan's withdrawal from the race for the District 1 Council seat Thursday morning. O'Donovan stepped down from her campaign after sustaining an injury from a fall that occurred during an Aiken County Republican Party event on Sept. 24 in which she officially announced her intent to run for City Council. She sent a letter to the Commission on Oct. 7 stating she was withdrawing after an orthopedic surgeon said it would be better to concentrate on a remedy for her injured knee rather than campaigning. Since the ballots have already been printed for the Nov. 8 election, O'Donovan's name will be there but votes will not count due to her withdrawal, according to Commission Chairman Richard Johnson Jr. During the discussion Thursday, it was mentioned that under state law, a substitute candidate can be placed in the race by the party. The withdrawing candidate must submit a notarized affidavit giving a non-political reason behind stepping out of the race to the Commission for review, along with a note from the doctor stating why they cannot run, according to City Attorney Gary Smith. He added that due to the timing of the withdrawal, the process which can take up to 30 days would not be complete before the general election but a special election could be held Dec. 13. According to Aiken County Republican Party Chair Dennis Saylor, they searched for a substitute candidate but could not find anyone available to step in. He said the party regrets that O'Donovan had to withdraw as they found her to be a good candidate. "We wish Sunny well; I know she will recuperate well," Saylor said. "Maybe next time around, she will be available and willing to run." Saylor added that the decision was quite hard for O'Donovan. "Besides the recuperation of her knee, it's the healing of the heartache of having to make the decision of pulling out as well," he said. Now that O'Donovan has withdrawn from the race, all three City Council seats up for election are uncontested. O'Donovan was running against Democratic candidate Gail Bush Diggs for the District 1 seat after Councilwoman Beverly Clyburn announced she would not seek re-election. Mayor Fred Cavanaugh won the Republican primary in September against candidate Jet Beckum. Councilman Dick Dewar is running for another term in the District 3 seat with no opposition. A referendum regarding the change of the current Aiken City Council format to six single-member districts rather than staying with the current four single-member districts and two at-large members will be on the ballot. The mayoral seat, which is of course at-large, would remain so.