Charleston, South Carolina, elects its first Republican mayor since Reconstruction Era

Nov 22, 2023, 9:11 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The historic South Carolina city of Charleston has elected its first Republican mayor since the Reconstruction Era.

William Cogswell, formerly a Republican state lawmaker, defeated incumbent Democratic Mayor John Tecklenburg by about 2 percentage points in Tuesday’s runoff, according to the South Carolina Election Commission. Results posted online by the commission showed a 569-vote margin separating the the two candidates.

Cogswell, 48, had secured the most votes in the Nov. 7 general election but not a majority, meaning that he and Tecklenburg headed to Tuesday’s runoff.

Charleston’s municipal elections are technically nonpartisan. But Tecklenburg is a well-known figure in the state’s Democratic politics, endorsing Joe Biden in South Carolina’s pivotal 2020 presidential primary.

Cogswell, who served three terms as a Republican in the state House and describes himself as a moderate, earned endorsements from others within South Carolina’s GOP political circles, including Sen Tim Scott.

Charleston last elected a Republican mayor in the 1870s, according to historical records from the city and other municipal areas. Republicans including state GOP Chairman Drew McKissick and U.S. Rep. Russell Fry, who served in the state House with Cogswell, celebrated the GOP win in social media posts and statements.

“We can confidently say that I’m going to be the next mayor,” Cogswell said Tuesday night, as final results came in. “The people have spoken, and we’re ready for a new direction … a new direction that puts labels aside, so that we can find pragmatic solutions to our problems.”

In a concession speech Tuesday night, Teckleburg called his eight years as mayor “the honor of my life” and asked his supporters to rally around the new mayor.

“I’d like to congratulate our new Mayor-Elect William Cogswell … and I’d like to ask each and every Charlestonian, everybody out there, to give him your support,” Tecklenburg said. “When Mayor Cogswell succeeds, Charleston succeeds, and that’s something we’re all in favor of.”

The City of Charleston has become the second reliably blue area in South Carolina — where Republicans dominate congressional and statewide politics — to choose a Republican mayor in recent years. In 2021, Daniel Rickenmann, a longtime city council member backed by Republicans, was chosen as the mayor of South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

United States News

Associated Press

Texas police arrest suspect in abduction of 12-year-old girl who was found safe after 8 days

COLUMBUS, Texas (AP) — Police in Texas have arrested a man suspected in the disappearance of a girl who was missing for eight days before she was safely located. The 27-year-old Houston man was charged with evading authorities after he attempted to flee from officers on Friday, the Columbus Police Department said in social media […]

3 hours ago

FILE - A voting sign is seen near a voting center at Croft Baptist Church, Feb. 24, 2024, in Sparta...

Associated Press

A chunk of Republican primary and caucus voters say they wouldn’t vote for Trump as the GOP nominee

WASHINGTON (AP) — A small but substantial chunk of Republican primary and caucus voters say they would be so dissatisfied if Donald Trump became the party’s presidential nominee that they would not vote for him in November’s general election, according to AP VoteCast. An analysis of the data shows that many of those voters were […]

3 hours ago

Prison psychological specialist Christine Ransom, right, leads a group session for inmates, Dec. 14...

Associated Press

Prisoners with developmental disabilities face unique challenges. One facility is offering solutions

ALBION, Pa. (AP) — “You are the Lighthouse in someone’s storm,” reads the message above a mural of a sailboat bobbing on ocean waves under a cloud-studded azure sky. It’s an unexpected slogan for a prison wall. On a nearby door painted deep blue, a bright yellow Minion character offers “Ways to say hello,” lists […]

5 hours ago

FILE - Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., celebrates with his supporters af...

Associated Press

Iowa Democrats were forced to toss the caucus. They’ll quietly pick a 2024 nominee by mail instead

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — There’s a lot less fanfare for Democrats in Iowa picking their presidential nominee this year, and it’s not only because Democratic incumbent Joe Biden is in the White House. Instead of congregating for caucuses, a one-night spectacle where community members publicly signal their support for a candidate, Iowa Democrats headed […]

10 hours ago

Kylie Moreland, the Monroe County Elections Supervisor poses in her office in Bloomington, Ind., Tu...

Associated Press

An Indiana county hires yet another election supervisor, hoping she’ll stay

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana county lost its top election official nearly every other month over the last year after a longtime supervisor resigned following a counting error in the November 2022 tally. Voting advocates hope fears of a rocky election year will ease now that Monroe County has named a supervisor who is […]

10 hours ago

Christiane Keyhani, program coordinator of Hui O Ka Wai Ola, fills up the bucket to test water qual...

Associated Press

In Hawaii, coral is the foundation of life. What happened to it after the Lahaina wildfire?

Abraham “Snake” Ah Hee rides waves when the surf’s up and dives for octopus and shells when the water is calm. The lifelong Lahaina, Hawaii, resident spends so much time in the ocean that his wife jokes he needs to wet his gills. But these days Ah Hee is worried the water fronting his Maui […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Charleston, South Carolina, elects its first Republican mayor since Reconstruction Era