Republican Herbert R. Sass III coasted to an easy victory Tuesday in the special election to fill the vacant East Cooper Charleston County Council seat.

Sass had 67 percent of the vote, compared with 33 percent for Democrat Richard A. Hricik, with 29 of 31 precincts reporting.

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Less than 10 percent of voters in the East Cooper district went to the polls.

"I'm really thrilled. I had a lot of help, a lot of great friends who helped," Sass said. "I'm really excited and am ready to get to work."

Sass said he and Hricik waged clean campaigns, and they had a cordial telephone conversation after the results were known.

"I called him and congratulated him and I wish him nothing but the best," Hricik said Tuesday. "After the election, we're still neighbors."

A political newcomer, Sass, 57, already has become a veteran after surviving a four-way GOP primary earlier this year and then prevailing in a runoff two weeks later. He said those primary battles probably gave him an edge -- particularly in name recognition --over Hricik, who had no primary opponent.

But Sass also said his many years living, working and coaching sports in Mount Pleasant also seemed to pay off.

Sass is a real estate appraiser and chairman of the South Carolina Real Estate Appraisers Board, a gubernatorial appointment.

He is expected to be sworn in by early next week -- after the results are certified -- and he said his first job will be to "get the lay of the land." His win means that Republicans will keep three of County Council's nine seats.

The District 1 seat was vacated when former Councilman Joe McKeown resigned late last year to work for newly elected U.S. Rep. Tim Scott.

The district includes about half of East Cooper between Awendaw and the Cooper River, north of U.S. Highway 17 and Shem Creek.