Runoffs set Nov. 17 for Charleston and Mount Pleasant

Voters cast their ballots at Oakland Elementary in West Ashley on Tuesday. Results were certified by area election officials on Thursday.

Hotly contested races for Charleston mayor, City Council seats and Mount Pleasant Town Council are officially headed for a Nov. 17 runoff election.

The Charleston Municipal Election Commission on Thursday certified vote tallies from Tuesday night’s election after considering whether to count dozens of challenged ballots. The field of six candidates in the mayor’s race was officially narrowed to the top two vote-getters, John Tecklenburg and Leon Stavrinakis. In the final tally, Tecklenburg received 35.6 percent of the vote and Stavrinakis 34.5 percent.

In the tightest race, City Council District 1 challenger Shawn Pinkston held on to a seven-vote lead and picked up an extra vote.

“Every vote matters. That’s what makes this election special to me,” said Pinkston, who attended the commission meeting.

His opponent, Gary White, agreed. “This is a grand example that just a few votes make a great difference,” he said.

A runoff vote will also decide the race between District 3 incumbent James Lewis and challenger Jimmy Bailey.

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“I’m just thrilled to have a chance to compete again,” said Bailey.

Lewis said he was at a conference of the National League of Cities in Nashville, Tenn. “I look forward to having another election facing Mr. Bailey. The last election was very good. There was no mudslinging,” he said.

City Council District 5 incumbent Marvin Wagner, who unofficially won by a 110-vote margin on Tuesday, held on to his seat with no problem after the commission considered how to handle 116 challenged ballots. Wagner said he represents the interests of veterans on council.

Charleston County on Thursday certified its election results, which means that Jim Owens, Chris O’Neal and Will Haynie will officially compete for two Mount Pleasant Town Council seats, said Joe Debney, executive director of the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

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