CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Tuesday marked a historic night in North Charleston as voters in that state’s third-largest city elected the first African American mayor.
Unofficial results from the South Carolina Election Commission show Reggie Burgess, the former North Charleston police chief, leading the nine other candidates by 59%, or 8,365 votes.
It also makes the first time in nearly 30 years that North Charleston elected a new mayor. The city’s longtime mayor, Keith Summey, announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection and planned to spend more time with his family.
Burgess is no stranger to leadership in his hometown. He stepped down from his role as police chief earlier this year after announcing his campaign for mayor. But during his time as chief, Burgess managed a budget of more and $40 million and a large staff of over 400 people.
“I’m glad I stayed home, and that was the whole thing- people here wanted me to stay home. And I stayed home as a cop in the same community I grew up in, and now, the people are saying to me they want me to run the government. Not one department, but all the departments – with the people, it’s about the people,” he said while at a victory party Tuesday night. “And that’s all my family wants me to do is continue to serve the people.”
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster congratulated Burgess saying, “Congratulations to my good friend Reggie Burgess the Mayor-elect of North Charleston. Things work out the way they are supposed to for great people.”
Meanwhile, in the City of Charleston, the mayoral race will head to a runoff election. Current Mayor John Tecklenburg remained in a tight race with William Cogswell and will face off on Tuesday, November 21st.
Both candidates said they are prepared to continue campaigning and earning votes.
The Charleston County Board of Elections said a candidate must win at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff; no candidate met that threshold Tuesday night, triggering that runoff election.
Unofficial results Wednesday morning show Cogswell with 36% (11,151 votes) to Tecklenburg’s 32% (9,924 votes). The remainder of the votes were split between the four other candidates for mayor.
Flowertown also has a new mayor-elect. Citizens in the Town of Summerville selected Russ Touchberry to be their new mayor and earned more than half the vote.
Touchberry currently represents District 3 on town council. He is also an engineer with his own engineering firm.
Mayor-elect Touchberry says infrastructure is what he wants to tackle first. “Now it’s time to act. I’m ready to serve as the mayor, but now it’s time to act. It’s time to get the work done,” he said Tuesday night. “I can’t wait to get the work done.”
Touchberry earned 3,357 votes over his competitors, Dickie Miler with 2,595 votes and Vickie Fagan with 238 votes.
There will also be a new mayor in Moncks Corner. Thomas Hamilton defeated incumbent Michael Lockliear with 54% of the vote Tuesday night. Voters in Kingstree voted to keep their incumbent mayor, Darren Tisdale, in office over challenger Latonya Davis.
Seabrook Island has a new mayor-elect – Bruce Kleinman narrowly beat Jeri Finkle for the elected position. And on James Island, Brook Lyon will be the next mayor.
In Mount Pleasant, Jake Rambo, Laura Hyatt, and Howard Chapman will keep their seats on town council. They will be joined by Daniel Brownstein.
In the Senate District 42 race, democratic State Representative Deon Tedder won in a landslide victory against Republican Rosa Kay. Unofficial results show Tedder earned 82% of the vote over Kay’s 18%.