Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler was re-elected Tuesday in a rematch of the 2013 election that made him mayor.
“I am so ecstatic and thankful to God for affording me this opportunity to serve the citizens of Orangeburg,” Butler said after hearing he had won.
He will now serve another four-year term after garnering 1,055 votes, or 64 percent of the vote, to Paul Miller’s 601, which was 36 percent.
Butler defeated then-mayor Miller in 2013 to become the city’s first African-American mayor.
In the race for the District 1 seat, incumbent Richard Stroman was re-elected with 388 votes, or 69 percent of the vote, to Jim Johnson’s 171, or 30 percent.
Jerry Hannah won the District 3 seat with 163 votes, or 48 percent, against incumbent Charles “Buddy” Barnwell, who received 136 votes, or 40 percent. Gene Gartman Jr. received 38 votes, or 11 percent.
Butler noted voter turnout for this year’s election was larger than in 2013. He said he was glad to see that he won by a larger margin.
After winning his first time, Butler said “I was just in a state of shock.”
He said he didn’t know what he had gotten himself into, but now he has the experience to back it up.
“Now I know what it is, I know how to deal with it, I know how to handle it and I feel more confident,” Butler said.
He added that he has now graduated from the S.C. Municipal Association’s training and has gone through three storms with the city.
Butler said he will not let the voters down and asks those that did not vote for him to trust that he will work for them as well.
“I want to be their mayor,” Butler said. “I want them to allow me to be their mayor. I want to serve them.”
He said, “We have some changes that need to take place in city hall.”
“In my first term, I assessed the whole entire situation,” Butler said. “Some of the people that work there have not been as loyal and diligent in this administration as they could have been.”
He said he now knows, “who is who.”
Butler said despite it all, he has faith that the city will move forward and will continue work on projects such as those on the Capital Projects Sales Tax list.
“With the economic development that’s coming, they will see a great economic boom,” he said. “More things will be coming into Orangeburg.”
Hannah, who won the District 3 seat, said his win “will bring about unity in the city.”
“I can’t pick out one person, or one item, or one event that made this possible,” he said. “It was a collaborative effort for the citizens of District 3.”
He said the area will have a representative who will listen and take instruction from them.
Barnwell did not want to give comments immediately after the election.
Gartman congratulated Hannah on his win and said, “We have change now and hopefully some of the agenda items such as keeping an eye on the electric rates will continue.”
Gartman is also seeking the County Council District 6 seat and said, “I’m taking off the gloves and I’m going to start swinging with the left and the right.”
Stroman could not be reached for comment, but challenger Jim Johnson thanked everyone who came out to vote for him.
“It’s all about timing. People aren’t ready for a change yet,” he said.
Johnson called himself an engaged citizen who will continue to work in the community.
At 11 a.m. Thursday, the Municipal Election Commission will hold a hearing to certify the election results. This hearing will be held at the City Hall Council Chambers located at 933 Middleton Street.
Mayor’s race by precinct:
• Ward 1: Butler 71; Miller, 75
• Ward 2: Butler, 52; Miller, 5
• Ward 3: Butler, 101; Miller, 10
• Ward 4: Butler, 23; Miller, 1
• Ward 5: Butler, 55; Miller, 13
• Ward 6: Butler, 92; Miller, 38
• Ward 7: Butler, 112; Miller, 135
• Ward 8: Butler, 60; Miller, 103
• Ward 9: Butler, 77; Miller, 36
• Ward 10: Butler, 125; Miller, 89
• Suburban 2: Butler, 0; Miller, 0
• Suburban 3: Butler, 2; Miller, 0
• Suburban 7: Butler, 2; Miller, 1
• Suburban 8: Butler, 14; Miler, 1
• Suburban 9: Butler, 4; Miller, 0
Three write-in votes were cast in the mayor’s race.