MOUNT PLEASANT — Mayor Billy Swails says he is “99.99 percent sure” he’ll seek a second term next year, but if he gets it, he’s just as sure it would be his last.
Swails told The Post and Courier he plans to seek re-election to oversee the makeover of Coleman Boulevard, the replacement of the S.C. Highway 41 bridge over the Wando River and a few other road projects.
“I like it when I’ve got something to do,” said Swails, a State Farm agent who won a three-way race in 2009.
Swails’ mayoral duties are limited, unlike his full-time, strong-mayor counterparts in Charleston and North Charleston. Town Administrator Eric DeMoura handles the town’s daily operations, so Swails has limited leverage in winning over Town Council members. Since he took office, Swails has donated his $24,000 salary back to the town.
The town’s next mayoral election will be held in November 2013 and likely won’t heat up until filing opens in August.
Council members Chris Nickels and Chris O’Neal said Tuesday that Swails is the only mayoral candidate he has heard who has indicated he’s running.
“If Billy had said no, certainly there would have been a few council members who may have been interested,” O’Neal said. “For the most part, council is cohesive, and we get along well. If Billy is coming back, that’s good for everybody.”
Former Councilman Joe Bustos, who ran against Swails three years ago, said he has been talking with people about possibly running again. “I can’t say that I’m in or out right now,” he said. “I have been approached about running. I’m looking to see if I’m a viable candidate.”
While no one other than Swails has announced plans to run, Swails said he is sure at least one opponent will emerge. “Bring ’em on. Good things are happening for the town.”
Swails also said if he were to run again and win, it definitely would be his last term because he would be 70 years old when it’s done.
“It would be time for me to go fishing on my dock,” he said. “I don’t want to make this a lifetime job.”