A Democrat hasn’t held a Charleston County courthouse post in two decades, but that could change if Peter Tecklenburg continues to hold the lead over Republican Paul Gawyrch for the job of auditor.

With 109 of 182 precincts reporting, Tecklenburg had 54 percent of the vote and Gawyrch had 46 percent.

One of them will take the seat of Peggy Moseley, who has held the position since 1992.

Tecklenburg said Tuesday night that he was cautiously optimistic about winning the post, which he thinks should be a nonpartisan position. And he campaigned as though it were nonpartisan, he said. “We reached out to everyone we could.”

He thinks voters simply want someone they can trust in the auditor’s office. And he said he wants to deliver that by “transparency and transcending partisan politics.”

Tecklenburg also has said that if elected, he would refocus the office on hard work and customer service. He also would work on spotting places where tax bills have fallen through the cracks and instructing his staff on the complex issue of heirs property, in which a piece of land is owned by multiple family members.

Gawrych, 49, is a former Mount Pleasant town councilman. Tecklenburg, 32, is a Democrat and former transit planner.

Gawrych said if elected he would meet with the staff first thing and have a good talk. “We’re going to find out who’s on board and who is not on board to change the way things have been happening with the Auditor’s Office,”

The auditor’s job involves calculating property tax rates and mailing out bills, and the race seldom ranks among the county’s hottest political contests. But that was not the case this year.

The auditor is a full-time job that pays about $90,000 a year. Duties include supervising a staff of about 30 employees. The winner takes office when the county’s new fiscal year begins July 1, 2013.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.