In a historic electoral shift, former South Carolina Republican Rep. William Cogswell secured victory in Charleston’s mayoral race, marking the city’s first Republican mayor since 1877. In the highly anticipated runoff election against incumbent John Tecklenburg, unofficial results from the South Carolina Election Commission revealed Cogswell clinching the win with 51 percent of the vote, surpassing Tecklenburg’s roughly 48 percent.
Securing 13,930 out of 27,291 votes, Cogswell reached a substantial margin that negated the need for a recount. Celebrating his triumph, Cogswell delivered a confident victory speech around 8:45 p.m. at his watch party, enthusiastically proclaiming himself as the city’s next mayor amidst a spirited crowd.
Expressing gratitude to his supporters and voters, Cogswell emphasized a forward-looking approach focused on a new trajectory for Charleston. He pledged a governance style that prioritizes the city’s residents above partisan labels, stressing the need for pragmatic solutions to address various challenges.
Acknowledging the significance of the results and expressing optimism about Charleston’s future, Cogswell extended an olive branch to those who didn’t cast their votes in his favor, aiming to earn their trust and respect as the incoming mayor.
Following Cogswell’s victory announcement, Tecklenburg reached out to concede defeat and pledged assistance for a smooth transition. In his concession speech around 9:15 p.m., Tecklenburg thanked Charlestonians for the opportunity to serve as mayor for the past eight years. Encouraging citizens to support Cogswell, Tecklenburg emphasized a collective success for Charleston under the new leadership.
Cogswell’s campaign was centered on core pillars of “safe communities, smart growth, and sound governance.” His proposed agenda involves implementing new zoning regulations, bolstering funding for recreational programs and community centers, and addressing localized flooding and affordable housing issues.
Come January 2024, Cogswell is set to assume the mayoral office, aiming to initiate his vision for Charleston’s progress and development.