CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Voters cast ballots across South Carolina and those votes are expected to decide several mayoral races and answer key bond referendums.
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Incumbent Mayor John Tecklenburg and Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings spoke to supporters Tuesday night after election results showed they would face each other in a runoff election.
As of shortly before 11 p.m., Tecklenburg was leading with 48% of the vote to Seekings’ 34%. But to win the Charleston mayoral election, a candidate must earn 50% of the vote plus one vote.
With no one reaching that amount of votes, the top two candidates face each other in a runoff in two weeks.
Tecklenburg faced competition from five other candidates who hope to make him a one-term mayor.
Besides Seekings, candidates Sheri Irwin, Renee Orth, former City Councilman Maurice Washington and Councilman Gary White were all hoping the vote counts would go in their favor.
Major issues in the mayor’s race included plans to address flooding, growth and development and traffic.
Incumbent Mayor Keith Summey had captured 47% of the vote shortly before 10 p.m. John Singletary had 35%.
Summey, who has served as mayor of North Charleston for a quarter century, thanked his supporters on Facebook for the assumed victory earlier in the evening. Singletary was joined by Thomas Dixon, Floyd Dotter, and Ashley Peele in efforts to unseat Summey.
Dixon’s campaign slogan has been “Enough is enough.” Two of his top issues are reducing gun violence and promoting quality public education.
Dotter is a small business owner and he says he’s hoping to create more “unity in the community.”
Peele says she is running to create a safer, greener, more equitable North Charleston.
And Singletary is a business owner who is looking to create new community centers and redesign the city’s police department.
Ricky Waring was leading opponents Bill Hearn, Brandon King, and Fleming Moore just before 10 p.m. Waring held 47% of the vote, and Hearn, with 44% conceded the election to Waring.
It was clear that voters in Summerville would elect a new mayor after the town’s current mayor, Wiley Johnson, did not seek re-election.
Waring said his key campaign goals were to focus on traffic, giving first responders tools to protect citizens, improving trask pickup, and planning for long-term growth of the town. He said he plans to hold listening sessions one day each month to allow residents to come to the mayor with ideas and concerns.
Waring previously served as mayor pro tem from June 2002 to 2007 and from 2009 to 2011. He was a Summerville town council member from 2003 to 2011. He also served as the town’s operations director in 1998, its public safety director in 1995 and was Summerville’s first paid fire chief.
Hearn served multiple terms on Dorchester County Council and says two of his top concerns for Summerville are flooding and traffic.
Both King and Moore are newcomers to the political scene.
King says he wants residents to have more of a voice when it comes to how taxes are spent.
Moore, a local musician and former teacher, has focused his campaign efforts on transportation and the arts and culture scene, saying he wants Summerville to be a top destination spot for hospitality and arts.
Dorchester County voters were asked to decide on two separate bond referendums on parks and libraries.
The first requested $38 million for parks and recreation projects.
The second requested $30 million to build new libraries. could add at least two new libraries to the Summerville area. Those locations would be in Oakbrook and in downtown Summerville. The other two locations would be in North Charleston and in Ridgeville.
If the library referendum is passed, Dorchester County property owners could see a millage increase of 2.2 mils added to their property taxes in 2020.
That would mean a property valued at $100,000 with a 4% tax rate would pay an extra $8.80.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.