We’re so predictable. Year in and year out, we grumble about City Council member John, State Senator Doe, and all our other elected officials, vowing to vote them all out next time. But when next time comes, what do we do? More often than not, we vote the same old folks right back into office. You’d think we were brain-dead zombies or something. That said, there are some good eggs out there, real servants to the community. If you’re interested in learning who Charleston City Paper readers chose as their favorite politicians and civic-minded folks, read on.

Best Charlestonian

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

It’s never a contest for this Best of Charleston award. After easily securing his ninth term as Charleston’s mayor, it’s no surprise that Riley once again snagged this honor.

Best Charlestonian to Exile To Drum Island

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

You can’t be top dog without a few enemies, proven by the three challengers to Riley’s office last November.

Best Do-Gooder

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

We wonder if the recent City Hall rehab included added room for plaques, cause Riley’s probably going to need it with this new annual category.

Best Troublemaker

Thomas Ravenel

We don’t give descriptions for categories on the ballots, so readers will sometimes have different definitions for “troublemaker.” In the past, it’s been awarded to someone who’s rocking the boat. This year it goes to former state treasurer Ravenel for his high-profile drug bust.

Best Political Gaffe

Thomas Ravenel’s Coke Bust

The initial bust, the dash to a private treatment center, the disgraced resignation — Ravenel’s exit from South Carolina politics was even faster than his rise.

Best Local Legislator

Rep. Leon Stavrinakis

D-District 119

Stavrinakis is going two-for-two with this award. He’ll be facing reelection in his traditionally Republican district this fall, so every bit of support likely helps.


Best City Council Member

Wendell Gilliard

Three-time winner Gilliard defeated an adult bookstore and makes sure the elderly have air conditioning in the summer. Now he’s got his sights set on a seat in the Statehouse in November, which means we may see a little more of his blazer and a little less of his trademark track suit.

Best County Council Member

Tim Scott

Council Chairman Tim Scott got his shot at this award last year with Stavrinakis’ ascension. But this may be the last time as Scott makes his own plans to run for the South Carolina House of Representatives (sense a pattern here?).

Best School Board Member

Arthur Ravenel

He never got his majority on the School Board, but voters still like Cousin Arthur’s good ol’ boy charm and politicking.


Best Community Activist

Dana Beach

The head of the Coastal Conservation League has been an outspoken spoil sport for many a development, most recently including the proposed North Charleston port plans at the old Navy Base.

Best Philanthropists

Jerry and Anita Zucker

Among Charleston’s wealthiest, the Zuckers continue to inspire Lowcountry residents with their wide variety of good works supporting the arts, furthering medicine, and preserving culture.

Best Conservative

Glenn McConnell

It’s hard to compete with McConnell’s credentials, both as a purveyor of Confederate memorabilia (including the Hunley), as well as his politics in Columbia working against smoking bans and leading the state’s charge on illegal immigration.

Best Progressive

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

Him again? Yep. Riley’s environmental push for the city’s Green Committee and other good deeds snagged a fourth award this year for the mayor.

Best Local Cause

Darkness to Light

The nonprofit is recognized again for its focus on preventing sexual abuse through adult education programs.