With deadline past, 7 to vie for mayor of Hilton Head, 6 more seek council seats

With the deadline to file passing at noon Monday, seven people will compete to succeed Hilton Head Island Mayor Tom Peeples, who is not seeking re-election after 15 years in office.Those running for mayor are Jim Collett, former chairman of the town Board of Zoning and Appeals; Tom Crews, architect and town Planning Commission member; Ward 1 Councilman Bill Ferguson; Ward 3 Councilman Drew Laughlin; Ed McCullough, host of a WHHI public-access television show; Dave Myers, part owner of Kigre Inc.; and Ward 4 Councilman John Safay.

Safay's term is up this year, ensuring there will be at least one new face on council.

Laughlin and Ferguson would retain their council seats even if they don't win the at-large 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.

Mary Amonitti, a local TV host and marketing representative, will run against local publisher and fellow Palmetto Dunes resident Kim Likins for Safay's seat, which represents an eastern section of the island.

Bill Harkins will run for re-election to his Ward 2 seat, which covers most 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 will try again for the seat in the nonpartisan election Nov. 2.

George Williams Jr., will run for re-election to his Ward 5 seat against a challenger, Sea Pines resident and lawyer Charles Raley.The mayor and council members serve staggered four-year terms and receive salaries and other compensation not to exceed $13,900 and $10,800 a year, respectively, according to the town's municipal code.