Politics & Government

Caldwell ousts Stringfellow as Chester mayor

Chester Mayor Wanda Stringfellow speaking at a recent public meeting. City Councilman George Caldwell defeated incumbent Stringfellow in Tuesday’s city election.
Chester Mayor Wanda Stringfellow speaking at a recent public meeting. City Councilman George Caldwell defeated incumbent Stringfellow in Tuesday’s city election. Herald file

The city of Chester will have a new mayor, as City Councilman George Caldwell defeated incumbent Wanda Stringfellow in Tuesday’s city election.

Caldwell’s win means that both the city of Chester and Chester County, in the space of two months, have new political leadership.

The three-term councilman will be sworn in to a four-year term Thursday, having beaten Stringfellow in a race with more than 1,000 votes cast in the city of about 5,500 residents. Caldwell defeated Stringfellow 585 to 453, said Karen Roach, the county’s deputy elections director.

The election loss is the second in less than a year for Stringfellow.

She lost soundly to then-County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey in the 2014 Democratic primary. Roddey, who had held Chester County’s top political job for more than 30 years over two tenures, lost his re-election bid in the general election to petition candidate Shane Stuart.

Stringfellow has served three non-consecutive terms as mayor – two terms before losing in 2007, then winning back the post in 2011.

The mayor is a part-time post that pays $8,436 annually, plus insurance benefits, said Sandi Worthy, city administrator.

Another City Council member lost his seat in Tuesday’s election. Newcomer Carlos Williams topped incumbent King Thompson. Three other incumbents kept their seats.

Williams is a Marine Corps veteran who ran for office after taking Chester Police Chief Andre Williams to task earlier this year for the way the chief and other officers handled a traffic stop involving Andre Williams’ twin teenaged sons. The race for that seat was a three-way race in which Thompson finished last.

Williams also will be sworn in Thursday, said Worthy.

Incumbents Annie Reid, William Killian and Betty Bagley won contested races to keep council seats. Three other incumbents – Linda Tinker, Susan Kovas and William McBrayer – were not up for election Tuesday. Their seats will be up for election in 2017.

McBrayer won a special election earlier this year to complete the term of Councilman Odell Williams, who was killed in November in what police say was a gang shooting.

Council members serve four-year terms and are paid $5,408 per year, plus benefits.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065

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