Charleston mayoral candidates send final message to voters ahead of runoff

Voters will get another chance to choose who they think should be the next leader of the city of Charleston in the mayoral runoff election Tuesday.
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 6:56 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2023 at 8:03 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Voters will get another chance to choose who they think should be the next leader of the city of Charleston in the mayoral runoff election Tuesday.

Incumbent Mayor John Tecklenburg and challenger William Cogswell are vying for the seat. Both candidates said they are feeling good going into the election.

“I’m feeling great. And I’m grateful too I mean, not just because it’s Thanksgiving, but I believe God has blessed this city,” Tecklenburg said. “In so many ways. We have so much to be thankful for. But before you cook that Turkey for that big dinner on Thanksgiving, don’t forget to go out and vote.”

“We feel great. We feel great. We’ve had the win behind us and people are excited and people seem to be showing back up which is important,” Cogswell said. “Make their voices heard and so we feel really bullish on tomorrow and excited about what’s going to happen.”

Cogswell surpassed Tecklenburg by 1,227 votes In the Nov. 7 election. Cogswell received 36% of the votes, while Tecklenburg received 32%. Because neither candidate received more than 50% of the votes, the runoff election was necessary.

Tecklenburg said he wants his voters to know that his plan for the city is to continue the work that he has been doing in regard to public safety, affordable housing and flood protection.

“I say let’s continue this important work of keeping our city and community safe, of providing opportunities for our kids, of thinking about our education system as well, of protecting our city long term from flood risks, of providing more affordable housing for our community. Those are the things I’m passionate about and working on. And I ask everyone to continue to work on those things with me,” he said.

Cogswell said he wants to change the City of Charleston and put the residents first.

“Please get out there. I mean, we’ve done a lot of work. You all have done a lot of work,” Cogswell said. “And I think to people that if they’re happy with what’s been going on for the past eight years, you know who to vote for. But if you want positive change, you want to find pragmatic solutions to our problems, then I’m your guy and make sure you cast your ballot.”

Both candidates discussed what preparation they took to prepare for the runoff election. Tecklenburg said that he has spent the weekend talking to voters about his plans.

“So, this has been an amazing weekend. We’re continuing all today - volunteers, all my family, my children, even my grandchildren - been knocking on doors, still talking to voters about the importance of the work that we’re doing, to support public safety, to support our police and fire departments, to build more affordable housing in our city and continue the important work that we’re just fully engaged in of providing better flood protection for the long haul for the future of our city,” Tecklenburg said.

Cogswell said he has also been reaching his voters through the media and phone calls, but he said he really has not had to try too hard to get his voters to the polls because he believes that the change he stands for is what the people want.

“It is all about change - positive change for Charleston - and people want it so we’re not having to push too hard,” he said, “I’d say smart, safe and sound and putting residents first. I mean, I’ve been pretty consistent on this platform throughout the race for a year now. And you know, we’re excited about bringing, like I say that change to City Hall.”

Both candidates mentioned their opponent’s endorsements.

“We both had good endorsements. He’s had some, I’ve had some, I think at the end of the day people make up their minds about us and I think the direction of the city is going in a good direction. I know he thinks the world is ending and all that. But it’s not. We have a beautiful great city. Yeah, we got some things we’re working on. And that will always be the case. We’re working hard on them now. And the voters will decide,” Tecklenburg said.

“I mean, we’ve got as many, if not far more endorsements on our front and really excited to be able to announce that we’re able to get Councilman Keith Waring’s endorsement, which is very powerful, but as well as US Senator Tim Scott’s endorsement, so you’ve got it local level national level, showing that party labels don’t really matter in a local election, people just are coming together for positive change for our community,” Cogswell said.

When discussing potential results of the election, Tecklenburg said “Oh, I’m ready for whatever God brings. I really am. I’m ready for whatever God brings me.”

“We got in this for, I think, the right reasons. We’re excited about what we can bring - the experience and expertise that I have to help our city. But look, if it doesn’t go our way, I got plenty of things to do. So, we’re excited, though, we don’t see it happening that way. And we’re excited about bringing change,” Cogswell said.

Overall, both candidates said their main message was “go vote.”

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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