MYRTLE BEACH — Incumbent Wayne Gray said he was humbled Wednesday morning after learning he would hold on to his Myrtle Beach City Council seat, defeating challenger Jackie Vereen by less than 100 votes.
“I’m grateful and thankful for the opportunity to be able to serve again,” Gray said of being elected to a third consecutive term. “Now we can continue with the things that we’ve been working on … to make this a world-class community and a world-class resort.”
The final unofficial count from ballots cast Tuesday was delayed until Wednesday morning due to a faulty machine at the Coastal Lane 1 precinct at the Horry County Complex on 21st Avenue North.
After votes from the final of 13 precincts were counted Wednesday morning, Gray received 1,977 votes to Vereen’s 1,912. The voting machine had to be sent to the county to retrieve the votes. There were 191 votes cast at the Coastal Lane 1 precinct.
Candidates were able to avoid a runoff by receiving more than the total number of votes cast for all candidates, divided by the three council seats available, divided by two, for 50 percent.
Gray said he hoped to continue to work to be a welcoming city for businesses and diversify the economy to add year-round jobs. Gray was first elected to City Council in 1997 but was not in office from 2001 to 2005.
With Gray’s re-election, the City Council will continue to look as it has for the past four years. All other incumbents whose terms were up also were re-elected, with John Rhodes receiving 66 percent of the mayoral votes and Mike Lowder and Randal Wallace receiving 2,382 and 2,374, respectively.
Linda Brock, owner of Big Daddy’s Roadhouse Grill, said she voted for all of the incumbents because she knows them and believes they’ve done a good job while in office.
“I’m definitely not against change, but when you know something’s working, let’s don’t mess with it,” she said.
Receiving only 65 fewer votes than Gray, Vereen said she will continue her work on the Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board and stay active in the city.
“It’s been a positive experience,” she said. “And I definitely will run again.”
The voting machine at Coastal Lane 1, which had an issue with the battery that kept election officials from retrieving votes Tuesday, was kept by a county election rover overnight and delivered to the Horry County Voters Registration and Elections on Wednesday morning. Director of Horry County Voters Registration Sandy Martin said she was able to turn on the machine and retrieve the votes without any complications.
The Myrtle Beach Election Commission will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday to certify the election results. It likely will do a recount to ensure all of the numbers are correct, said city clerk Joan Grove.
The vote certification will take place in the second-floor conference room at City Hall, 937 Broadway St.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her on Twitter @TSN_MPrabhu.