Lexington County Council seats up for election

By Al Dozier

Five Lexington County Council seats will be contested in the upcoming June 11 Republican primary.

Michael Bishop, the former mayor of the town of Springdale, is running against incumbent Scott Whetstone in District 1 in the Gaston-Pelion-Swansea area. Bishop owns and operates Dust to Dust, a green burial cemetery near Swansea.

Whetstone has served the county for the past eight years. He is employed as an operations supervisor for Dominion Energy.

Councilman Darrell Hudson, who serves as a vice chairman for the council, has been on the council since 2016. He faces a primary challenge from Brent Munnerlyn in District 3, which covers the western side of Lexington, out toward Lexington High School, across US Hwy 378, and up to the south shores of Lake Murray.

Hudson is the owner of Hudson Brother Truck Accessories.

Munnerlyn owns an independent pharmacy called My Pharmacy and Optical in District 3. In the past, he managed the Health & Wellness business for Walmart across the midlands and other outlying areas. Responsibilities included managing the pharmacies, health care centers, and optical divisions. He also owns a fireworks business.

Munnerlyn made headlines recently when he appeared at a council meeting and accused council members of slandering his name by insinuating he has affiliations with a non-profit called Project Lexington’s Future.

Todd Cockrell and Doug Leonard are running for a seat left open by Councilwoman Debbie Summers in District 4, which runs along Augusta Road between Springdale and the eastern part of Lexington.

Cockrell serves as Sun Solutions’s General Manager and currently runs Kamo Industrial Solutions’s S.C. division. He has served on the board of the Cayce West Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Leonard works in real estate sales and has a background in contract negotiations and operational management. He has worked for several Fortune 500 companies.

Councilman Gene “Bimbo” Jones will face Clifford Fisher in District 5, which is located in the Red Bank and South Congaree areas. Jones is completing his first term on the council. Jones is semi-retired from years of service in the tire business.

Fisher is a reserve sheriff’s deputy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. His wife, Margaret Fisher is the current elected coroner of Lexington County.

Jason “J.J.” Resnick, a former Emergency Medical technician and firefighter. will challenge Councilwoman Charli Wessinger in District 6, which is located in the Chapin area. Resnick operates JJRez, a concrete supply company. Wessinger, who is completing her first term on council, serves as Director of Education Technology at Newberry College.

There’s also a contested race for the State House of Representatives in District 85, which is located in the Chapin area. The seat is now held by Jay Kilmartin, who was elected in 2022. He operates two South Carolina Melting Pot franchise locations as well as The Cigar Militia Premium Cigar Store. He has served since 2022.

His challenger is Dean Widener, a 39-year military veteran and former State Command Chief for the S.C. National Guard. He is the owner of Widener Life and Health in Chapin.