With 22 votes shy of joining the two other incumbents winning back their seats on Myrtle Beach City Council, Mary Jeffcoat is facing a runoff with realtor John Krajc.
The city election had a total of 13,002 votes cast among the seven candidates vying for the three council seats.
Incumbents Mike Chestnut and Phil Render won outright with Chestnut getting 2,594 votes and Render getting 2,427 votes.
The election results from Tuesday are unofficial. The Myrtle Beach Election Commission is scheduled to meet on Thursday, after the print deadline, to certify the election results.
The “magic number” each candidate needed to win outright in the unofficial results Tuesday was 2,168, city spokesman Mark Kruea said.
Jeffcoat received 2,146 trailed by Krajc at 2,010.
The runoff is scheduled for Nov. 19.
“I’m a little disappointed, but this was not unexpected,” Jeffcoat said of the seven candidates who ran for the three open seats.
Myrtle Beach’s election is non-partisan and at-large, meaning council members represent the whole city and not individual districts. Each council member is elected to a four-year term.
“Four years ago, voters elected me to bring momentum and new ideas to the city,” she said of bringing forth the historic tax credits used in the newly created Arts and Innovation District, a spotlight on the opioid crisis and downtown revitalization. “We’ve got a real good momentum going with our current team. That’s very important. If you put a new person on the team, it could disrupt things.”
In addition to serving on council since 2016, Jeffcoat had served on council 1984-1992.
Krajc said after the results were tallied, he is not planning on changing his approach to winning the seat facing more campaigning for the runoff.
“The support is electrifying,” he said surrounded by supporters celebrating his 30th birthday at 44 & King. “The people want fresh ideas and big, bold energy to push those ideas forward.”
He said his “fresh ideas” differ from those offered by Jeffcoat.
“The fresh ideas, for me, is when I’m out of office it shows I want to continue to move this city in a forward direction and make Myrtle Beach the best city on the east coast.”
Mayor Brenda Bethune’s husband Brown Bethune owns the restaurant Krajc chose to celebrate.
Krajc has said he supports the mayor.
Incumbents Chestnut and Render said they are excited for the future of the city and the challenges they will face on council for the coming term.
“I’m ready for the next race,” Render laughed on Tuesday night.
He noted that he and Chestnut have consistently finished in the top two spots. Render has served on city council since 2004 and Chestnut has served on council since 2000.
“It’s not important, but it is noteworthy,” he said. “It shows we do not have no single agenda, but we are looking out for the benefit of the entire city. What we need to do as a group is to find which projects we want to move forward with and a stable funding model.”
Chestnut added he is “looking forward to seeing Mary (Jeffcoat) victorious in the runoff, but right now I’m hungry to tell you the truth.”
Chestnut won eight of the 14 precincts with Render winning four of the 14 precincts in addition to the most votes in the absentee ballots. Krajc won two precincts.
The other candidates in the race were Wayne Gray with 1,756 votes, Ed Carey getting 1,491 votes and Charles Gasque with 525 votes. There were 53 votes cast in the write-in category.
Kruea said the “magic number” of 2,168 was arrived at by the total number of votes (13,002) divided by the number of seats open (three) and then dividing that number (4,334) by two and adding one.