(Patriot.Buzz) – In a historic electoral outcome, Republican William Cogswell triumphed over incumbent Democrat John Tecklenburg in Charleston, South Carolina’s mayoral runoff election, marking a significant political shift.
This victory establishes Cogswell as the first Republican to hold this position since the Reconstruction Era, a period dating back to the 1870s.
Cogswell, who previously served three terms in the state house and is known for his moderate Republican stance, narrowly defeated Tecklenburg by a margin of 569 votes, equivalent to 2% of the total votes.
This runoff election was needed when Cogswell led the initial voting earlier this month but failed to achieve the mandatory 50% majority. The runoff saw a voter turnout of 27%, with 30,190 votes cast.
In his victory statement, Cogswell, also a real-estate developer, expressed his readiness for the mayoral role, emphasizing a non-partisan approach to governance. He stated, “We can confidently say that I’m going to be the next mayor. The people have spoken, and we’re ready for a new direction … a new direction that puts labels aside, so that we can find pragmatic solutions to our problems.”
His campaign received endorsements from key South Carolina GOP figures, including Senator Tim Scott.
Charleston, typically a Democratic stronghold in the predominantly Republican state, had not elected a Republican mayor for over a century. Despite the city’s political inclinations, the mayor’s office is officially nonpartisan.
Key issues that dominated the election discourse included challenges such as flooding, public safety, tourism, and managing the city’s burgeoning population.
Cogswell’s campaign was marked by criticism of Tecklenburg’s handling of the 2020 riots following George Floyd’s death. In a notable television advertisement, Caroline Reynolds, the widow of late police chief Luther Reynolds, condemned Cogswell’s politicization of the riots and endorsed Tecklenburg.
After the election results, Tecklenburg accepted his defeat, reflecting on his tenure as a cherished period and urging his supporters to back the newly elected mayor. He said, “I’d like to congratulate our new Mayor-Elect William Cogswell … and I’d like to ask each and every Charlestonian, everybody out there, to give him your support. When Mayor Cogswell succeeds, Charleston succeeds, and that’s something we’re all in favor of.”