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Surfside Beach elects 2 out of 3 Town Council seats (with videos)

The election for Surfside Beach Town Council is not over, because a runoff is needed to decide the winner of the final open seat.

Incumbent Doug Samples and newcomer Ann Dodge were elected Tuesday to two of the three open seats, according to unofficial results, but a runoff is set for April 20 for the third open seat,

Surfside Beach Planning Commission member Rod Smith will face DeFalco's Automotive owner William Rempfer in the runoff, according to town clerk Sharon Pinnell. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7p.m. on April 20.

"I am very honored that the people of the town Surfside Beach came out and showed their support again for the things that I have tried to do for the town," Samples said. "In terms of change, I think we need to pursue fiscal discipline, transparency and we really need to be responsive to the folks who live in town."

Samples received 522 votes and Dodge received 356 votes, according to the unofficial results.

Samples said he was surprised at the voter turnout. More than 800 of the town's 2,713 registered voters went to the poll, about 30 percent.

Each voter was allowed to cast ballots for up to three candidates and 2,118 votes were cast, Pinnell said.

She said the town usually gets a third of the voters to the polls for the mayoral race.

Dodge, who has been a regular at council meetings, said she also was honored to be elected.

"It makes you feel like you are walking on air," Dodge said about the win.

"I worked very hard," Dodge said, about her campaign. "I did not want to let [my supporters] down."

She said she plans to work for a more open government and push for more fiscal responsibility.

"We need to build up our reserve," Dodge said.

Dodge, one of the founders of the Concerned Citizens Group of Surfside Beach, said the group has a good president and board who have done a good job running the group when she announced her intention to run, and will continue to do so.

Both Rempfer and Smith said they were ready for the runoff.

"I think I have an excellent chance at winning," Smith said. "Why? I had more votes than him in this election."

Smith had 295 votes while Rempfer had 265 votes, according to Tuesday's unofficial results.

Smith also pointed out that he has been active in Surfside Beach as a member of the planning commission and has experience working with policy makers and large budgets as a member of the Solid Waste Authority board.

Rempfer said he was ready to win over more voters.

"We'll work harder now, going door to door and talking to voters," he said. "It will make it a lot easier without so many other people in the race."

There had been 11 candidates for the three seats in the Town Council race.

"With that many, I knew there was bound to be a runoff," Rempfer said.

This is Rempfer's second time running for Town Council.

"I own a business in town and I have a lot invested in the Highway 17 corridor," he said.

Rempfer was in a runoff in 2008 against Vicki Blair. Blair beat Rempfer then by 122 votes.

"I will never give up," Rempfer said.

Big issues during this year's election were fiscal responsibility, improvements to U.S. 17 North, Surfside Beach Pier and transparency.

The other candidates were Scott Anderson, Rebecca Jean Hiatt, E. Shannon Kirk, Chad A. Perrino, Marty Rhoades, Jason R. Scully and Randle Stevens.

Official results are expected to be released Thursday, Pinnell said.

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