Charleston County Auditor Peggy Moseley may have lost her bid for re-election in Tuesday’s GOP primary but she’ll be able to stay on the job for at least another year, if she chooses.

Unlike most other offices that start with new terms after the November election, the next auditor won’t be officially sworn in until July 1, 2013.

The “stagger” is designed to make sure that an experienced auditor is in office during the tax and revenue collection cycle, which ramps up in January, said county Deputy Treasurer Julie Riley-Hollar.

Moseley, who has been in office since 1992, was defeated in the three-way Republican primary by former Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Paul Gawrych, based on unofficial results. Those returns will be certified Thursday.

Moseley did not respond to numerous requests for an interview today.

With all precincts in, Gawrych had 51 percent, compared to 31 percent for Moseley.

Former Charleston County School Board member David Engelman had 18 percent, though his wife said she planned to challenge Gawrych’s candidacy, contending he did not turn in a paper copy of his Statement of Economic Interest — the same problem that has knocked almost 250 other South Carolina candidates off the ballot.

If the results stand, Gawrych will face Democratic challenger Peter Tecklenburg on Nov. 6.