More candidates file for Hilton Head elections in November

One incumbent has filed to run for his seat on Hilton Head Island's Town Council, and another sitting councilman has joined a crowded race for mayor.

Ward 4 council member John Safay filed Friday to run for mayor in November's nonpartisan election, according to town clerk Betsy Mosteller.

Safay joins five other mayoral candidates: Ward 3 Councilman Drew Laughlin; Ward 1 Councilman Bill Ferguson; Dave Myers, owner of Kigre Inc.; Tom Crews, architect and town Planning Commission member; and Jim Collett, former chairman of the town Board of Zoning and Appeals.

All will vie to succeed Mayor Tom Peeples, who is not seeking re-election after 15 years in office.

On Monday, Bill Harkins filed to run for re-election to his Ward 2 seat, which represents two-thirds of Hilton Head Plantation. Harkins won a 2009 special election to replace Bill Mottel, who resigned for health reasons. The six-person field in the 2009 race included Terry Conway, who also filed to run for the seat in this year's election.

Safay was first elected to Town Council in 2001, and his term is up this year, ensuring there will be at least one change on council.

Local publisher and Palmetto Dunes resident Kim Likins filed last week to run for the Ward 4 seat, which stretches along the eastern side of the island. Local TV host Mary Amonitti has said she, too, intends to seek the seat, but has yet to file.

Laughlin and Ferguson would retain their council seats even if they don't win the mayor's race because their terms don't expire this year. If they win, a special election would be needed to fill their vacated posts.

The filing deadline is noon Aug. 16.