As election nears, candidates leave the stump to press the flesh

Beaufort County voters should not expect many last-minute campaign stops or new messages from local candidates before Tuesday's election.

As their campaigns wind down, several area candidates said the 48 hours before Election Day will be spent meeting voters and canvassing local neighborhoods, not making stump speeches at formal campaign events.

"Most of the big campaign events are behind us now," said Robert White, who is running for the Beaufort County Board of Education's District 7 seat. "It's all beginning to wind down. I'm going to have to get out into the neighborhoods, knock on some doors and continue to let people know who I am."

White is running against Bill Evans to represent Lady's Island on the school board, replacing Jim Bequette, who is not seeking reelection.

Candidates running for Hilton Head Island mayor and Town Council will be busy shaking hands, handing out fliers, buying ads and giving away free beer and food in last-minute attempts to woo voters before Tuesday's election.

Ward 4 Town Councilman and mayoral candidate John Safay attempted to appeal to voters' stomachs and wallets Friday, dishing out complimentary barbecue and pouring free beer and wine at Remy's Bar & Grill on Pope Avenue.

"It's an opportunity for people who are still undecided to discuss the issues or ask any remaining questions they may have about my campaign," Safay said.

His opponents will be doing likewise.

Ward 3 Town Councilman and mayoral candidate Drew Laughlin said he plans to be out in front of grocery stores and shopping centers across the island over the weekend "talking to and shaking hands with as many people as I can."

Safay and Laughlin will appear on the ballot Tuesday for Hilton Head mayor along with Dave Myers, Jim Collett, Ed McCullough, Tom Crews and Bill Ferguson.

Getting up-close and personal with voters as Election Day nears will be a major part of Donnie Beer's strategy to win another term on Beaufort City Council.

"At this point, all you can do is get out into the city, knock on doors and talk to people," Beer said.

Beer, who has served on City Council for 19 years, is running against fellow incumbent Mike Sutton and newcomers Larry Holman and Kimberlee Kolton for two at-large seats. The top two vote-getters will win.

Kolton said she will continue to canvass neighborhoods and phone prospective voters to help bolster support for her candidacy.

"Getting out in the community is particularly important for me since I don't have the name recognition of the incumbents," said Kolton, a retired social worker making her first run for political office.