Raines Scores Resounding Victory Over Godbey to Win Mayor's Race
Race was decided shortly after polls closed
A half hour after polls closed, incumbent Don Godbey conceded to Raines, who is an administrator at First Baptist Church and founder of the Mauldin Miracle League.
Godbey told his disappointed supporters, "I treasure the support I've received. I've thoroughly enjoyed my four years as Mayor and my six years on city council."
In remarks that caused him to become emotional, Godbey added, “The diversity here — young, old, white, black, Hispanic — there is a lot of strength in that and I’m proud to have played a part in bringing people together.”
Godbey encouraged his supporters to get behind Michael Reynolds, the incumbent for City Council Seat 6, who finds himself in a runoff with Larry Goodson.
The match-up between Raines and Godbey was notable for its decorum for much of the race. Both men were part of a substantive debate in early October that also included the candidates for city council. Later in October, Raines and Godbey spoke at length with the Republican Women of the Golden Strip.
But in the last week, the campaign turned negative towards Godbey and Reynolds. A memo was leaked to the media that implied the city council was aware of a budget surplus shortly after it had passed a $45 fee for trash removal in the summer. And direct mail was sent out to voters that took Godbey to task for raising taxes.
Perhaps most damaging to Godbey were campaign signs that appeared over the weekend — not attributed to any candidate — that criticized him for the $45 fee.
According to Godbey, Raines distanced himself from the negative campaigning when they spoke after the race was conceded.
James Kennedy, the incumbent for City Council Seat 4,and is trailing in a close race that is headed for a recount said, “Don is a genuinely good person. I can’t imagine him doing anything like what was done against him.”
Said Godbey of the negative campaigning, “It wasn’t the only factor (in my defeat), but it did play a role. It was overt and it was very targeted. The community was given information that they took on face value and didn’t have time to investigate on their own. But I accept their decision and I’ll move forward.”
A voter outside the Senior Center who asked to remain anonymous expressed distaste over the way the campaign ended.
“I don’t like (negative campaigning), but it works. You shouldn’t have to tear someone else down to build yourself up.”
Raines returns to elected office after a decade absence, having served on city council from 1996-2001. He will be sworn into office in January.