Election Day is here once again. After months of ads and speeches, it all comes down to this. Today, voters took to the polls to decide between state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis and businessman John Tecklenburg for the next mayor of Charleston.

Executive Director of Charleston County Board of Elections Joseph Debney says that voter turnout is usually lower in runoff elections, but he feels Tuesday’s weather should help. According to Debney, some polling locations have seen a healthy stream of voters throughout the morning, while other locations are still waiting for numbers to pick up. Poll managers at St. Andrew’s School of Math and Science say they had a healthy turnout early in the day and expect another rush between 5-6 p.m.

Tecklenburg stopped by St. Andrew’s to cast his vote and says he feels confident in the way he’s run his campaign. “I feel good about having stayed positive and talking about issues, and I think that resonated with voters. They didn’t like the negativity of some of the campaigns over the last month, and I feel great that we kept it positive,” says Tecklenburg.

Voter Ann Stirling says she knows both candidates well and was disappointed in what many saw as negative campaigning on the part of Stavrinakis in recent days. Although Stirling says she’d be happy with either candidate taking office, she will have a tough time imaging life in Charleston without longtime Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. leading the city. Voter Edmund LeRoy echoed the sentiment of several other voters questioned, saying he wasn’t too enthusiastic about either candidate.

Stavrinakis remains optimistic about today’s race and feels he has run a fair campaign leading into Tuesday’s election.

“We talked about issues the whole way through, the issues that are important to voters,” says Stavrinakis. “What’s been on their minds all year is how we manage growth and how we deal with our traffic problems and improve our schools, and we’ve talked about that start to finish in this campaign.”

When asked about his plans if elected, Stavrinakis says that three issues would take priority in his first days as mayor.
“We’ve been talking to voters. We know what’s on their minds. They want someone who can manage our growth, and they want someone who can deal with traffic and improve our schools, and I’ve got a proven record of doing all three of those things,” says Stavrinakis.

As for Tecklenburg, he promises to focus on quality-of-life issues and follow through with his pledge to assess all city departments during his first days in office.

“I do think that taking a good, strong look at city operations and doing my performance audit and evaluating each department of our city, that will be one of the first orders of business,” he says.

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