Elections

Update: Here’s the latest on the Hilton Head Town Council election results

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

As the votes were tallied early Wednesday morning, two contested Hilton Head Town Council seats were decided.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Ward 5 incumbent Tom Lennox received 51.68 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

The Ward 5 race appeared to be going to a runoff based on unofficial election results posted to the doors of polling locations earlier in the night, according to candidate Patsy Brison. But later results indicated Lennox secured a majority.

In Ward 2, unofficial results showed incumbent Bill Harkins defeated Tim Ridge, who has served on the town’s venue committee since 2016.

Ward 2 comprises portions of the north end of the island, including some of Hilton Head Plantation.

Harkins said in August that Town Council, which is often divided, should work together more. Ridge said the island should be marketed more to retirees.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, Harkins had 61.06 percent of the vote over Ridge, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Three Hilton Head Town Council seats were up for grabs, but only the Ward 2 and Ward 5 races were contested.

The Ward 4 seat — previously held by mayoral candidate Kim Likins — will be filled by Tamara Becker, who ran unopposed and secured 98.42 percent of vote, according to unofficial results. She will represent parts of the mid-island, including Palmetto Dunes and Indigo Run.

According to the League of Women Voters survey, Becker has lived on the island since 2014. Becker said the three main challenges facing the island include overall development, workforce sustainability and safety.

The Ward 5 race consisted of incumbent Lennox, Richard Dextraze, who owns an insurance business on the island, and Brison, who is on the town’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

Ward 5 is made up of much of the south end, including Sea Pines.

Lennox said in August a major priority of council should be finishing up hurricane recovery. Dextraze said the island is not “an alternative to Myrtle Beach” and should attract more “quality tourists.” Brison said she favors Charles Fraser’s vision for a “natural island” and wants to address development, including density and building height.

The election results have the potential to shake up a longtime 4-3 split on council, which most notably involved council member support for town manager Steve Riley. Several closed-door meetings were ended when mayoral candidate John McCann moved to make any future discussions public.

The next council, along with Hilton Head’s new mayor, will be tasked with making policy decisions on several issues that have proven to be divisive among both council and the public, including the town’s vision, an arts center, workforce housing and chamber transparency.

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