Political newcomer top Tega Cay vote-getter

TEGA CAY -- One incumbent and one political newcomer took the two Tega Cay City Council seats on Tuesday, with more than 20 percent of voters turning out to vote.

George Sheppard, 43, received the most votes with 567 in his first run for public office.

Incumbent Larry Harper, 51, finished second with 444 votes.

Also vying for seats on the council were incumbent Ron Kirby (420 votes) and challengers Hope MacBride (414 votes) and Ron Kazel (366 votes).

Sheppard, a resident of the Lakeshore area of Tega Cay, is a city volunteer, Lions Club member and religious education instructor, and works a full-time job as a senior account manager in sales. Sheppard ran with promises of making the council more accessible to residents and bridging the social gap between residents of "historic" and "new" Tega Cay.

Harper, twice elected to the council prior to Tuesday, has been involved in city affairs for more than 15 years. Harper cited the work of the current council throughout his campaign as reason for his re-election, mentioning that issues such as commercial annexation in the growing city require experience.

Sheppard and Harper will serve alongside council members Les Conner and John Dervay, along with Mayor Bob Runde. Council members serve four-year terms. Beginning in January, the annual salary for council positions increases to $3,600 from $2,800.

A total of 1,100 voters at two precincts -- a turnout of about 23 percent -- took part in Tuesday's election.