Barry Walker made history this week when he was elected Mayor of the Town of Irmo. Walker, who has served on the Irmo Town Council for 15 years, is the first African American elected to serve as Mayor. He is only the second African-American elected to serve as mayor in any municipality in Lexington County.
Walker was the former owner of Mac’s On Main Restaurant in downtown Columbia. Featuring “jazz, blues and BBQ,” people from around the county stop by the restaurant to visit “Chef Fatback” as he was also known. The restaurant was a frequent stop for national and regional politicians when they visited the Midlands. He closed Mac’s On Main in 2013.
Walker was first elected to the Irmo Town Council in 2004. He was re-elected to his fourth term in 2017. This was also not his first time running for mayor. He first ran for mayor of Irmo in 2007.
Walker and the incumbent Mayor Hardy King, frequently clashed in town council meetings. Walker, along with political novice Mike Ward, challenged King for the mayor’s position.
Irmo voters decided to make a change and elected Walker. He won with 54 percent of the vote. Walker received 984 votes, King received 471 votes and Ward received 367. In addition, two council members who frequently voted with King were defeated.