Todd Olds apparently has squeaked by incumbent Steve Ayer for the District 5 seat in the North Charleston City Council race.
A victory for him would mean at least three new faces on the 11-member council with re-elected Mayor Keith Summey.
Olds led Ayer 48 percent to 45 percent in unofficial returns, with 10 of 12 precincts reporting.
In District 9, where incumbent Kurt Taylor stepped down, Dwight Stigler, Boeing manufacturing engineer, led Kenny Skipper, a trucking company agent. But the race was too tight to call. Stigler held a 51 percent to 49 percent lead in unofficial returns.
Olds, a Planning Commission member who pushed for better schools and neighborhood face-lifts, appears to have swayed voters from Ayer, who was first elected in 1997. The seat represents residents in neighborhoods along Dorchester Road and Interstate 526.
"Hard work has paid off. To unseat a 14-year incumbent is a great victory," Olds said. He said getting out to learn the people's concerns made the difference. "People wanted a change," he said. "They were tired of not having positive change." Ayer declined to comment until all votes were counted.
In the District 4 race in the Wescott Plantation area, where Councilwoman Phoebe Miller did not run to hold her seat, Ron Brinson, former Port of New Orleans chief executive officer, defeated two candidates in a city where South Carolina ports expansion controversies have erupted. He had 65 percent of the vote with 11 of 12 precincts reporting.
"I don't think (the ports issues) factored very much at all. City Council is all about being an interface between the neighborhoods and city services and that's what I campaigned on," Brinson said.
Five incumbents apparently have held their seats, most by comfortable margins. They are Ed Astle, Bobby Jameson, Dorothy Williams, Michael Brown and Bob King. Incumbents Sam Hart and Rhonda Jerome ran unopposed. Brown's race was the closest; he had 56 percent of the votes in unofficial returns.
King, a retired magistrate, had 48 percent of the vote in a four-person race in which the closest challenger had 22 percent in unofficial returns. A challenge candidates faced was the stronghold King had with his constituents; he was first elected to his seat in 1998.
"We've got a lot of work to do. I'm looking forward to working with Mayor Summey to get some of these projects moving," King said.
The Park Circle neighborhood district race was one of the more closely watched because three candidates ran against King, including Kay Hyman, the well-known Charleston Animal Society spokeswoman. The support and camaraderie Hyman found delighted her, she said. "It makes me feel better about the community."
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or follow him on Twitter at @bopete.