Beaufort mayor resigns, city to hold special election

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 11:32 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCSC) - The city of Beaufort will look to fill its mayor seat with a special election before the end of the year.

The city announced the resignation of Mayor Stephen Murray on Friday effective immediately.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael McFee will become acting mayor until a special election can be held to fill the vacated seat.

City spokesperson Kathleen Williams said the special election is expected to be held on Dec. 12.

Murray was elected mayor in 2020 after spending six years on the city council being elected mayor while serving his second term in the council.

During the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s annual meeting in July, Murray was elected president of the Association of South Carolina Mayors.

In a statement, Murray touts the regional partnerships developed by the city.

“We’ve proved that local government can be responsive, that it can work with a robust list of partners to achieve shared goals, and ultimately provide high-quality daily services while also investing in our preferred future,” Murray said.

Murray said he’s been “actively fighting” against people “who’ve had their hands on political levers for a long time.”

“And while I’m proud of the work and I know there is still much to be done, I’m tired,” Murray said. “I’m tired of the daily barrage of uncivil and rude people accusing me of impropriety without a shred of proof. I’m tired of the ‘he said, she said’ middle school drama that is present among many of the folks that I’m required to work with outside of Team Beaufort. I’m also tired of prioritizing my civic job at the expense of my health, my family, my friends, my businesses, and my reputation.

“The City of Beaufort deserves a mayor that has their heart and energy fully committed to the job. A mayor who is fully committed to fighting the last bastions of the ‘good ole boys’, fully committed to responding to even the nastiest email with kindness, and fully committed to actively and consistently communicating their thoughts to the people they represent. I’d like to think at one time, not too distant ago, I was this mayor. But I do not feel like I am currently up to the task of the mayor I want to be, nor the one Beaufort deserves.”

The full statement can be found below: