Former Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Joe Bustos defeated incumbent Lin Bennett recently and will take over the post as chair of the Charleston County GOP.

Bustos said he still plans to run for mayor of Mount Pleasant and face incumbent Mayor Billy Swails — and possibly others — in a nonpartisan election this fall.

“Right now, I have slowed that (mayoral campaign) or stopped so that I can turn all my attention to this,” Bustos said of his new post. “It’s been requiring a lot of work, a lot of going out and meeting people in Charleston County.”

Bustos said he was approached by a few people just days before Saturday’s county convention and told them he would run but would not campaign. He said he left that up to them.

Bennett, who had not expected opposition, had fewer supporters turn out for the vote.

“Congratulations to Joe Bustos,” she said. “He got his voters to come to the convention. That’s the bottom line.”

Former County GOP Chair Mark Hartley said Bustos benefited from support from the party’s Ron Paul faction, a Libertarian-minded group that likes the Texas Congressman and former presidential candidate. “We’re all just absolutely disgusted that we let our guards down,” he said.

Bustos said his supporters felt the party had drifted apart, “and I said I would accept the nomination if what was expected of me was to work as hard as I could to bring everyone together.”

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.