Elections

‘Extremely grateful’: McCann wins Hilton Head mayoral runoff as Likins concedes

In runoff, Hilton Head mayoral candidates will need votes in these precincts to win

Unofficial results show how the votes went for the Hilton Head Island mayoral race
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Unofficial results show how the votes went for the Hilton Head Island mayoral race

John McCann will be Hilton Head Island’s next mayor. The numbers were made official on Wednesday evening.

His opponent, Kim Likins, told The Island Packet she called him and congratulated him, effectively conceding, around 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, even though the results had not yet been reported by the county elections office.

Likins said her campaign tallied votes after they were posted outside polling places, and she determined McCann had garnered around 900 more votes than she did.

With 30 of 30 precincts reported by the Beaufort County Board of Elections, McCann won with 56.91 percent of the vote.

McCann received 4,750 votes, while Likins trailed with 3,596 votes.

Officials announced final results about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Around half as many people voted in the runoff as in the general election.

Official results show 16,371 ballots were cast in the general election on Nov. 6 compared to 8,367 in the runoff with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

McCann will be installed as mayor with the new Hilton Head Island Town Council on Dec. 4, according to Town Manager Steve Riley.

McCann was surrounded by his wife, children and friends while they celebrated at Rock Fish Seafood & Steaks at Bomboras on Hilton Head Tuesday night. McCann said he’s “extremely grateful” and excited to “continue working with the people of Hilton Head” as he says he has throughout his campaign.

McCann, 78, is in the middle of his second term on Town Council, where he has represented Ward 6 since 2012.

Since there are two years left in his term, a special election will be held to determine who will take his seat on council. This was the third mayoral election in a row to go to a runoff.

“We are so proud to have run such a strong race,” Likins told The Island Packet.

McCann was the first person to announce his candidacy for the seat in August 2017.

He ran for mayor on a platform that included increasing council transparency by cutting back on executive sessions, promoting fiscal responsibility and focusing on the Hilton Head bridge and U.S. 278 corridor improvements.

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Here’s a summary of some of McCann’s positions, based on his responses in interviews with The Island Packet and at public forums:

  • Called the town’s visioning process a “mistake” with no real “end game.”
  • Said Mitchelville is the “history of the island” and frequently talks about cultural preservation efforts.

  • Said he supports transparency from the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce but stated his main concern is staying within the marketing contract. McCann amended a motion to include members of the chamber leadership on a committee that discussed the chamber’s budget and spending reports. Later, he said the chamber should not release specific invoices because it may receive discounts from vendors that “should not be known to anyone.”

  • Wanted unused commercial space repurposed to allow private companies to develop workforce housing. McCann said he is against using the term “affordable housing” because it implies government subsidies.

  • Said the town should be the driving force behind the U.S. 278 corridor project and suggested appointing native islanders to a committee to give input on land preservation.

Hilton Head mayoral candidate John McCann flip-flops on transparency from the Chamber of Commerce during an interview with Island Packet staff.

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