Democratic Stronghold Elects Republican Mayor for First Time Since the 1800s

Democratic Stronghold Elects Republican Mayor for First Time Since the 1800s

The largest city in South Carolina has a Republican mayor for the first time since the late 1800s.

Well, sort of.

In point of fact, the mayor’s office in Charleston, South Carolina, is nonpartisan; in point of more fact, however, the incumbent had clearly identified himself as Republican and the new mayor-elect served as a Republican in state legislature, no matter how the ballot may list their political party affiliations — or fail to.

According to The Charleston Post and Courier, William Cogswell had run as a self-described “moderate,” but his victory over an obvious Democrat was nonetheless “stunning,” given the fact that city voters have historically been “solidly Democratic.”

In fact, the last Republican to hold the mayor’s office was George I. Cunningham, who served from 1873 to 1877.

Every mayor in the nearly century-and-a-half since has either identified as a Democrat or been rather obviously identified by others as such, given previous offices held and party-related activities.

The unofficial results gave Cogswell 51.04 percent of the vote, compared to incumbent Mayor John Tecklenburg’s 48.96 percent.

The state’s Election Commission had yet to certify the results, according to WCSC, but Cogswell had declared victory and Tecklenburg had both called him to concede and delivered a public concession speech.

Tuesday’s election was a run-off, with no other mayoral candidates on the ballot.

The Republican apparently won the race without resorting to the rancor and name-calling that has become prominent in American political campaigns.

“There’s a competitiveness to it of course but we ran a positive race and I think people responded well to that,” Cogswell said, according to WCSC. “I wish John all the best, it’s nothing personal. It’s time for the next generation, it’s time for the next chapter in our city, and I am excited to usher that in.”

Tecklenburg offered a similar sentiment in his concession speech, according to the outlet

“I ask each and every Charlestonian, everyone out there, to give him your support. Because starting tonight, when Mayor Cogswell succeeds, we all succeed. And that’s something we’re all in favor of,” Tecklenburg said.

Slightly over 30,000 votes were cast in the runoff election, representing about 27 percent of the electorate, the Post and Courier reported. THe November 7 general election brought in only about 600 more votes than the runoff.

Cogswell, a real estate developer as well as a former Statehouse representative, will take office in January.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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