SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Sullivan’s Island residents came out to the polls in record numbers Tuesday to vote in the island’s municipal election.
Two candidates, incumbent Mayor Patrick O’Neil and current Councilman, Chauncey Clark, ran for Mayor. O’Neil won the election. He has served as Mayor since 2015; prior to that he had served on town council since 2001.
Clark has served on Town Council since 2013.
Five candidates ran for three town council seats. Scott Millimet, Justin Novak, Kevin Pennington, Gary Visser and incumbent Tim Reese.
Millamet, Novak, and Visser took the seats with 686, 720, and 618 votes respectively.
Several candidates spent much of Tuesday hanging under a tent at Sunrise Presbyterian Church where ballots were cast to greet voters as they arrived. Some of the candidates used it as a moment to reflect on their run for office.
“It’s election day, it’s an exciting day,” says Mayor Patrick O’Neil. “I’m really glad it finally got here.”
“Relieved, this is a long process,” says Gary Visser running for a town council seat
Voters trickling into the church were just as excited for election day saying some change will be good.
Some voters said it’s a big election with high stakes for the residents of Sullivan’s island and hot topic issues hanging in the balance.
“Well I think the stakes are very high,” says Sullivan’s Island resident Liz Boyle.
Some of the issues on the ballot for voters included transparency, paid parking, the maritime forest, infrastructure improvements and more. O’Neil hopes the town can come together on the issues moving forward.
“I want to work to try to help the island come together more than we currently are and try to get us back on a course of very open and participatory government,” says Mayor O’Neil.
Boyle she says her trust in the town has diminished in months past.
“I think they need to get off Zoom and have in person meetings and just have more open conversations with the residents of the town,” says Boyle.
Visser said that transparency was at the top of his list.
“Ensuring that we have public input,” says Visser. “A lot of decisions have been made without public input when there was opportunity to solicit public input to get more feeling of what the people want. We’ve got a lot of issues that I think need to be addressed and I think we have a lot to offer.”
Voters and candidates see it as an opportunity to close the divide and open conversations for a stronger Sullivan’s Island moving forward.