Would Halfacre be good candidate for McLeese job?

Speaking regionally: Randy Halfacre, speaking at Reality Check kickoff event in June.

Speaking regionally: Randy Halfacre, speaking at Reality Check kickoff event in June.

This morning, I was talking with a Lexington county politico about Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre’s re-election loss yesterday — we were both surprised, in varying degrees, at that outcome.Neither of us knew enough about the winner, Councilman Steve MacDougall, to have a clear idea of what happens next in the town.

Then, as has been the trend in such conversations the last couple of weeks, we talked about all the prominent deaths the Midlands have suffered.

I said, yeah, with Ike McLeese gone and Halfacre out as mayor, that’s two losses among advocates for regional cooperation.

My interlocutor reminded me that Randy Halfacre is still the head of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce. Then he added, “Who knows? Maybe he’ll come over here.” (We were standing in downtown Columbia as he said it.)

I found that intriguing: What if Halfacre were to become McLeese’s successor? There’s a certain logic to it. They were close allies, and he’s already invested in Ike’s regional initiatives — in fact, he has led them.

Halfacre was one of the four — along with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, retired Maj. Gen. Abraham Turner and USC Athletic Director Ray Tanner — who eulogized McLeese at the Friday funeral. He told the story of how Ike was the one to realize that the region had to get its act together after it lost Southwest Airlines to Greenville and Charleston. He asked Halfacre to lunch, and proposed that local chambers needed to work in a coordinated manner going forward. Halfacre said sure, he’d help Ike any way he could. Ike said no, you misunderstand: You’re going to lead it, because it won’t work if it’s seen as Columbia asserting hegemony over the region. So he did.

Anyway, given that history, it’s an intriguing idea, now that Halfacre is no longer to be mayor of Lexington.

I have spoken to no one in a position to know whether Halfacre is, or might be in the future, under consideration for the job. Or whether he should be. I just found it to be an interesting suggestion…

6 thoughts on “Would Halfacre be good candidate for McLeese job?

  1. Doug Ross

    Seems like there’s a reason he lost the election… incumbents don’t lose very often unless there’s a serious problem. Just perusing the stories on Fitsnews would give one pause.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I don’t know why he lost, having spent zero time interviewing Lexington voters on the subject, and in the absence of specific exit polling.

      Sometimes, politics still IS local, hyperlocal. The very things that raise Halfacre’s profile regionally could have hurt him locally; I have no idea.

      I do know that it was the only election result last night that I found at all surprising. But if I lived in Lexington — instead of a couple of miles outside it, over on the edge of West Columbia — I might not have been surprised. I can’t say.

    2. Rose

      Yes, the ties to Danny Frazier may have done him in. The traffic situation is horrendous, too, especially that mess around the new high school.

      1. Silence

        It’s not like they didn’t know the school was coming. They had several years notice to plan and upgrade the roads there.

        1. Mark Stewart

          It isn’t easy to recover from an initial error in site location for something like a high school.

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