HEMINGWAY, S.C. – John Michael Collins was elected Tuesday to be the new mayor of Hemingway. He defeated Councilman Charlie Carter and local business owner Nick Patel with 62 votes.

Carter received 53 votes and Patel received five votes.

Collins will serve the unfilled portion of former Mayor Grady Richardson’s term. Richardson retired in February after serving as mayor for more than 20 years. He was re-elected mayor in July.

Collins said he wants to thank everyone who supported him.

“I’m ready to work with the council now and move forward and try to make some positive changes,” Collins said.

Collins owns Chlorinator Solutions and has been the chairman of the South Carolina Bar-B-Que Shag Festival in Hemingway for the past four years. He has worked in public works for both the town of Hemingway and city of Johnsonville. In a letter addressed to the residents in Hemingway, Collins said he loves the town and wants to see its people and businesses thrive.

As the mayor, Collins said, he plans to support the police and public works departments and try to find a way to bring businesses to Hemingway, including manufacturing.

Bennett Cox and Solomon Lewis were also elected to the Hemingway Town Council. Cox received 80 votes and Lewis received 85 votes. Hamel N. Patel also ran for a council seat, but finished with 35 votes.

The new council members will replace former councilmen John Coker and Douglas G. Joy Jr. who resigned earlier this year.

The council is expected to discuss at Thursday’s council meeting when a swearing-in ceremony will happen. Hemingway Town Clerk Samantha Lewis said it may take place Thursday evening or be done at the council meeting in July.

Votes will be certified Thursday morning, Lewis said.

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