Filing period of Beaufort mayor special election opens Oct. 6

The filing period for candidates hoping to become the next mayor of Beaufort will open next month.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 12:07 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2023 at 5:21 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCSC) - The filing period for candidates hoping to become the next mayor of Beaufort will open next month.

The city announced candidate filing for the special election will open at noon on Oct. 6 and close at noon on Oct. 16.

Candidates must be registered to vote in South Carolina and a resident of the city of Beaufort.

A candidate information packet must be picked up from City Council Clerk Traci Guldner. The packet includes a statement of intention of candidacy that must be completed. A $250 filing fee must be returned by the noon Oct. 16 deadline to the council clerk’s office.

The council clerk is located on the second floor of city hall at 1911 Boundary Street. Office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The special election is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2023. The winner would serve out the current term that expires in December 2024.

The city announced the resignation of Mayor Stephen Murray on Sept. 15. Mayor Pro Tem Michael McFee will become acting mayor until the special election is held to fill the vacated seat.

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.”