Tuesday proved to be a good day for Lowcountry women seeking local office, both in the Lowcountry and beyond, with Mount Pleasant Mayor-elect Linda Page as the biggest success story.
Page received more votes than her four male opponents combined to become Mount Pleasant’s second female mayor.
As a councilwoman, she was one of only seven women elected to Mount Pleasant town government here since 1960.
Project XX, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that recently formed in Charleston to encourage more women to seek elected and appointed office, does not endorse candidates, but Page said its message — that women are underrepresented in government in South Carolina — helped her, especially as more than half the town’s 55,500 voters are women.
Awendaw voters also elected their first female mayor in the town’s brief history, as Miriam C. Green prevailed over Joe Bowers.
Project XX co-chair Ginny Deerin said 16 of 25 female candidates in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties triumphed Tuesday. Some had no opposition, and there’s a chance that number could rise to 17 if Charleston Water System Commission candidate Catherine LaFond defeats incumbent William Koopman in a Nov. 19 runoff.
“Generally speaking, we’re feeling enthusiastic about the results,” Deerin said.
If Project XX faced any disappointments, it was that women running for Charleston City Council struck out, often by a large margins, with the sole exception of incumbent Councilwoman Kathleen Wilson, who had no opponent. Deerin said those results might speak more to the challenge of defeating an incumbent, as the other female candidates faced a sitting male councilman.
While Project XX ultimately hopes to work statewide — South Carolina ranks near the bottom in its percentage of women state lawmakers — the group was founded in Charleston and is honing its strategy here first. Deerin said she has not seen results as far as how women fared statewide.
Deerin and fellow co-chair Nikky Hardin met Wednesday to map strategy for encouraging more women to run.
Page said she thinks women run for different reasons.
“We run because we’re compassionate about issues and want to fix things. We’re caring and nurturing,” she said. “I think men run for other reasons. I don’t know because I’m not a man, so I can’t give you their point of view.”
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.
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