Incumbent mayor Doug Samples had already conceded, shaking hands with council member and his opponent Bob Childs when it appeared Surfside Beach would have a new mayor. However, when the Election Commission finalized its count just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, both Samples and Childs, along with everyone in the room was shocked that there were no winners for mayor, town council or even in the special election to fill an open council seat.
The law requires the total number of votes be divided by the number of seats being voted on then divided by two. For mayor, Surfside voters cast a total of 878 votes. When divided by two, the winner would have needed 439 votes. Childs had 436 to Samples’ 430.
While Samples had been gracious earlier acknowledging what an honor it had been to serve the town on city council and as mayor over the last 14 years, he came to shake hands with Childs again to say “We’ll see you in two weeks.”
Childs, who had also acknowledged his appreciation to voters for supporting him in the election, said the final outcome was “very unusual.”
“I was hoping it would be over tonight,” he said after the unofficial count was announced.
With no clear winners in the general election, the top vote for the three city council seats were Mark Johnson, 365 votes; Mary Beth Mabry, 334 and Ron Ott, 308. Other candidates included Vicki Blair, 252; Wanda Spannuth, 268; Randle Stevens, 293; Holly Ann Watson, 266; and Stanley Wrobel, 160. With 2,259 votes cast that included 13 write-in votes, that race will also go to a special election. Both Blair and Wrobel ran simultaneously in the special election.
Four individuals were vying in the special election to fill the council seat left open last October due to the death of council member Ralph Magliette. Votes cast totaled 808, requiring a minimum number of 404 to win. Candidates included Vicki Blair, 230; Tim Courtney, 301; Steve Shore, 171; and Stanley Wrobel, 98.
Town Clerk Debra Herrmann said the votes will be certified on Thursday and a runoff will be set. Should Childs ultimately win the mayor’s seat, another runoff would be required to fill his council seat.
Angela Nicholas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.