WILLIAM KOOPMAN — 1,549

CATHERINE LAFOND — 1,347

Charleston Water System Commissioner William Koopman fended off a challenge from a political newcomer to keep his seat Tuesday.

Koopman, who worked for the water system for nearly 30 years before retiring, took 53 percent of the votes cast, according to unofficial results. Challenger Catherine LaFond, an estate lawyer, got 46 percent of the vote.

About 3 percent of the city’s 94,340 elibigle voters cast ballots.

The city of Charleston will certify the results Thursday morning.

It was unusual for a commissioner to face a challenge at all. Koopman was unopposed in previous bids for re-election.

The election drew extra interest because LaFond said she was urged to run by members of Project XX, a group formed to encourage more women to run for public office, as well as the Alliance for Full Acceptance. She would have been the state’s first openly gay candidate to win a contested election.

Koopman said Tuesday that he will continue to work to make sure that Charleston can handle growth, that wastewater discharges are pure and that customers get the most efficient service.