Hilton Head mayoral race will go to a runoff. Here’s who you’ll choose from on Nov. 20

This story was updated at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Hilton Head did not elect a new mayor on Tuesday, but the election will go to a runoff between the top two candidates — John McCann and Kim Likins.

McCann received the most votes with 5,778 ballots cast in his favor. Likins was next with 4,772 votes as of 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, according to election results from the South Carolina Election Commission with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

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A runoff is required by town code if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. In this election cycle, a runoff will be held on Nov. 20.

This is the second mayoral election in a row to go to a runoff.

Outgoing Mayor David Bennett won a runoff against incumbent Drew Laughlin in 2014 and did not seek another term.

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How the votes fell on Tuesday night:

  • McCann received the most votes with 35.40 percent.
  • Likins was next with 29.23 percent of the vote.
  • Alan Perry got 22.54 percent of the vote.
  • Barry Ginn got 5.46 percent of the vote.
  • Rochelle Williams got 5.13 percent of the vote.
  • Michael Santomauro got 1.92 percent of the vote.


The election became crowded quickly this year when three candidates — Ginn, Perry and Likins — announced their candidacy on the filing deadline. The six candidates recorded videos together, participated in meet and greets and came face-to-face in several candidate forums.

Two candidates are sitting Town Council members: Likins and McCann. Likins’ term on council finishes this year, but McCann’s term is over in 2020. That means if McCann is elected mayor, a special election will take place to determine his replacement.

The mayoral race got national attention in August when Santomauro, a “Holocaust revisionist” and retired publisher, announced his candidacy. He said his beliefs about the Holocaust would not affect his platform, but Santomauro brought up issues such as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, ethnic cleansing and the Holocaust in several public forums.

Williams, a native islander who ran for mayor in 2014, also made headlines when she said she “admired” the power held by Adolf Hitler in August. She later apologized but told the Island Packet, “what I was really trying to say is I like the power and the control (that Hitler had politically).”


John McCann was first to file and represents Ward 6 on Town Council, where he has served since 2012. He said he wants to increase council transparency.

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Mayoral candidate John McCann with supporters at his election results watch party at Rockfish on Hilton Head on Tuesday, Nov. 6. John McCann, submitted.

Likins represents Ward 4 on Town Council, where she has served two, four-year terms. She is the director of operations at the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island. Likins’ term on council finishes this year.

Mayoral candidate Kim Likins discusses her platform with a supporter at her election results watch party at Santa Fe cafe on Hilton Head on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Kim Likins, submitted.

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