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After contentious primary, these Beaufort County officials are unopposed in November

How close was Beaufort’s sheriff race? Here’s a precinct-by-precinct look

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner won Tuesday's election with unofficial results at 54.7 percent of the vote against his opponent JoJo Woodward.
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Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner won Tuesday's election with unofficial results at 54.7 percent of the vote against his opponent JoJo Woodward.

After a contentious primary season, some of Beaufort County’s top offices won’t face a challenge in the general election.

Beaufort County races with only one candidate on the ballot include its top law enforcement officer, auditor and treasurer. In the city of Beaufort, two incumbents for open City Council seats face no challenge.

The general election is Nov. 6.

20-year sheriff in the clear

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner withstood a primary scrap with Joey “JoJo” Woodward, a former Sheriff’s Office captain who oversaw operations in southern Beaufort County.

Tanner earned 9,811 votes — 55 percent of the 17,925 votes cast in the race. Woodward finished with 8,114 votes, or 45 percent.

A challenger for the top law enforcement post, which Tanner has held since 1998, drove turnout in the primary. Voter turnout was 22 percent in June, up from 13 percent in the most recent non-presidential year primary in 2014.

Woodward ran on a platform advocating better communication with the community, improved traffic management and creation of a task force to address drug and gang-related crime.

Tanner said after the race he was bothered by Woodward’s campaign promises, ones Tanner said his former deputy could have enacted while working in the Sheriff’s Office in Bluffton and on Hilton Head and Daufuskie islands.

When Beaufort County Sheriff PJ Tanner heard rumors that Capt. JoJo Woodward was going to run against him for sheriff, Tanner says he confronted him about it and Woodward denied it. But months later, Woodward resigned and announced his candidacy.

Tax officials also unopposed

Beaufort County Auditor Jim Beckert and Treasurer Maria Walls have sparred in the past, but neither faces opposition on the ballot.

Beckert, whose office maintains tax records and calculates property taxes, defeated deputy treasurer George Wright in the June primary for a second time. Beckert overcame accusations from his own party that he used an anti-Semitic slur in an email with a Beaufort County GOP official.

Walls was elected in 2014 after serving four years as deputy treasurer.

Walls and Beckert have disagreed in recent years over their respective office’s powers related to setting deadlines, producing and mailing tax bills, and collecting money.

In 2016, Beckert sued Walls over the release of personal information. The suit was later dismissed.

Gary Kubic, Beaufort County Administrator and Jim Beckert, Beaufort County Auditor, spar at a special committee meeting on Aug. 29, 2016, to discuss which department would be responsible for Beaufort County tax notices — auditor or treasurer’s off

2nd term for Beaufort councilmen

Two Beaufort City Council members should have a second term locked up.

Stephen Murray and Phil Cromer both filed for their open seats.

Murray, 37, is a small business owner who operates Kazoobie Kazoos and New South Shirts. He’s also chairman of the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation and past chairman of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.

His efforts on council have included helping create the Beaufort Digital Corridor, a tech incubator modeled after a successful Charleston venture, and working to bring business to the city commerce park in Burton.

Cromer, 68, is a former administrator for the towns of Port Royal and Ridgeland and consulted for the Municipal Association of South Carolina for more than 20 years before retiring in 2014.

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