Filing opens for Mount Pleasant mayor, Town Council

MOUNT PLEASANT — Four hopefuls for this town’s mayor and council seats made their candidacies official today, as filing opens in what is expected to be a lively election.

The Rev. Anthony Kowbeidu, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, was the first to file. He is seeking one of four Town Council seats up for grabs, said Joe Debney, director of Charleston County’s Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Timm Gipe, a real estate broker and developer, and Ben Bryson, who owns a real estate company, also filed later Thursday for Town Council, Debney said.

But the mayor’s race is expected to get most of the attention, as Mayor Billy Swails announced this summer he would not seek a second term.

Only former Town Councilman Joe Bustos and current Councilwoman Linda Page have announced they’re running, and more are expected to join them. Councilman Ken Glasson, who is not up for re-election until 2015, is expected to file soon. Bustos also filed Thursday.

Paul Gawrych, a former Town Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem, was considering a mayoral bid but said Thursday he plans to run for council instead.

“It’s been like a tennis match for me, going back and forth and thinking through it,” he said, adding a mayor’s duties would have taken more time than he felt he could give.

Town Council also is not expected to have more than two incumbents in the at-large race for four seats. Councilman Craig Rhyne is not expected to seek re-election, and Page is running for mayor instead of another council term. Council members John Burn and Elton Carrier will be the only incumbents, if they choose to run again.

Filing will continue through noon Aug. 26.

The town’s elections will be held Nov. 5. If no mayoral candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a Nov. 22 runoff —a new change that Town Council approved this month.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.

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