by Paul Bowers
Election Day came and went in Charleston County with little drama. Four of the five County Council members up for re-election were running unopposed, and the only one who faced a challenger, Anna B. Johnson, won with 63 percent of the vote against opponent Thomas Legare's 37 percent. Even Probate Judge Irvin G. Condon, who raised the hackles of the state attorney general in October by attempting to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, sailed to victory unopposed, carrying 99 percent of the vote (849 voters wrote in a candidate against him).
Two local referendums passed by wide margins. One authorized Charleston County to issue $108.5 million in bonds to construct and renovate libraries; another allowed the county to extend its penny sales tax for up to six additional years to pay for new and improved school buildings.
The biggest shake-up will be on the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees, which will have three newcomers: Kate Darby, Chris Staubes, and Eric L. Mack (click here to read profiles of all three). Board Chair Cindy Bohn Coats won re-election to her North Area seat with 50 percent, with her two challengers splitting the rest of the vote.
The narrowest margin of victory was for Charlie Lybrand, the 20-year incumbent Register of Mesne Conveyance. Local Democratic leaders launched an aggressive campaign against Lybrand this year, raising questions about Lybrand's financial practices and even prompting an inquest by the county's Audit Committee that turned up little in the way of scandal. Lybrand defeated Democratic challenger Patrick Bell by just 1,852 votes out of a total 94,321 votes cast. Because the margin of victory was less than 1 percentage point, a recount will be required to determine the winner. Joe Debney, executive director of the Charleston County Board of Elections and Registration, says recounts can only be called for during the upcoming certification meeting on Friday.
Here are the winners of the Charleston County elections according to unofficial results from the State Election Commission. For more complete results, visit scvotes.org.
Probate Judge: Irvin G. Condon (Republican), 99 percent
County Council District 1: Herb Sass (Republican), 99 percent
County Council District 2: Dickie Schweers (Republican), 99 percent
County Council District 5: Teddie Pryor (Democratic), 99 percent
County Council District 8: Anna B. Johnson (Democratic), 63 percent
County Council District 9: Joe Qualey (Republican), 98 percent
Register of Mesne Conveyance: Charlie Lybrand (Republican), 51 percent (recount needed)
Charleston County School District Board of Trustees, East Cooper (2 seats): Kate Darby, 42 percent; Chris Staubes, 31 percent
Charleston County School District Board of Trustees, North Area (1 seat): Cindy Bohn Coats, 50 percent
Charleston County School District Board of Trustees, West Ashley (1 seat): Eric L. Mack, 57 percent
Charleston County School District Board of Trustees, West Ashley (unexpired term): Tripp Wiles, 98 percent
Library Referendum: Yes, 74 percent
CCSD Sales & Use Tax Referendum: Yes, 67 percent