SURFSIDE BEACH — More than 400 residents hit the polls Tuesday to choose a councilwoman for Surfside Beach.
Beth Kohlmann was declared the unofficial winner Tuesday night with 290 votes to 130 for challenger Vicki Blair. Results won’t be certified until a hearing in council chambers on Thursday at 10 a.m.
It was the third municipal election in the town so far this year, following the regular April election and a runoff.
“I’m really excited to get started,” Kohlmann said after learning the numbers. “I know there’s a lot more than I even know about that needs to be done.”
Blair and Kohlmann were running in the special election to fill the seventh seat on town council, left vacant by Doug Samples when he became the mayor.
Though the numbers weren’t in her favor Tuesday night, Blair, formerly the chair of the planning commission and a town council member, said it doesn’t mean her involvement will cease.
“The residents have spoken and we have almost total new leadership,” Blair said. “I have many other ways to volunteer and give my time in the community.”
The campaign was more difficult than anticipated for Kohlmann who hadn’t run for office before.
“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be campaigning,” she said. “But it was a lot of fun too. I met a lot of people and that was the best part.”
Kohlmann, pending the certification of results, will be inaugurated at the start of next Tuesday’s meeting. The agenda for that meeting has not been finalized yet.
“I’ll be studying an awful lot before that meeting,” she said. “But, I’m ready to do that hard work. For the most part I think the [residents] just want us to make good decisions and I think this council is doing that already.”
Blair said she congratulates Kohlmann on her successful campaign. But to her supporters, she wished her thanks for their faith in her ability to serve.
She said she intends to continue supporting Surfside Beach and its council.
“I know they have plans and agendas for improvements and looking at changes and I have faith that they will make the right decisions.”
Sharing her experience, she said the job isn’t always easy.
“There’s a lot to learn and I think the best advice is to listen to everyone, hear what they have to say and make the best decision,” Blair said. “It can be difficult to separate what you personally might want and what may be best for the town. The most forward way to go is to be totally open-minded.”
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.