In one of the Lowcountry’s strangest elections, Jimmy Buffett, Bobby Harrell, Goober, Mickey Mouse, Democratic, John Doe, Colleen Condon and No Idea all fell just one vote shy.
Polls will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the special St. Andrews Public Service District Commission election.The district stretches roughly from Porter-Gaud School up to Drayton Hall and covers the area not already annexed by the city of Charleston.The 15 polling places will be the same as those used in the Nov. 6 election.While the candidates are required to live in the western portion of the district, all of the district’s approximately 10,000 registered voters may cast ballots.
So did 137 others.
But eight candidates tied with two write-in votes apiece, and they will face off in a special runoff election Tuesday.
At stake is a $5,468-a-year position on the St. Andrews Public Service District Commission.
“How crazy is this?” said Christie Holderness, the new manager and former chairwoman of the commission. “I still don’t know the majority of the candidates.”
The surviving candidates are Anthony Ferro, Callie Powell, Ceryl King, Jeff Gladwell, John B. Johnston III, Lashaunna Brown, Laura Toney and P. John DeStefano.
Whoever wins will join four other commissioners in January and spend the next four years overseeing an operation that puts out fires, picks up garbage and pays for street lights in much of unincorporated West Ashley.
Joe Debney, director of Charleston County’s Board of Elections and Voter Registration, said Friday he has never seen an outcome quite like this. “It’s been a bizarre year,” he said.
Debney said all eight write-in candidates who received two votes Nov. 6 are qualified for the office, meaning they all are registered voters who reside in the district’s western section.
“We would not have put Mickey Mouse on there,” he said.
Tuesday’s special election will cost at least a few thousand dollars and probably will involve a very low turnout, he said. Also, some election officials will have to work Friday, a county holiday, to certify the results.
While write-in candidates rarely win — not even “God” was able to convince two people to type in His name and qualify Him for the runoff — Tuesday’s winner won’t be the commission’s first such victor.
“I actually won as a write-in 12 years ago,” Holderness said.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.
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