RECAP: Election night in Coastal Empire and Lowcountry

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Election night has come to an end in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. Get a full recap below.

Coverage continues Wednesday morning on Coastal Sunrise. Watch live HERE.

To see 2019 local election results, CLICK HERE.


12 a.m.

Savannah’s mayoral race is heading for a runoff.

On Dec. 3, there will be a runoff vote between Van Johnson and incumbent Eddie DeLoach. Read more about the mayoral race and upcoming runoff election HERE.

WSAV’s Martin Staunton was at Aqua Vitae Lounge with live coverage. Watch the video above to see Johnson’s message to his supporters at the end of election night.


11:30 p.m.

Pooler has its first female mayor in history, Rebecca Benton.

With former mayor Mike Lamb not seeking re-election, it was a tight race between Benton and Adam Bridges. Though Benton did not have 50% plus one vote, she had the lead, and Pooler law says there is no runoff.

“It’s the most humbling honor I have ever had,” Benton said.

WSAV’s Andrew Davis is live at Spanky’s Pizza Galley & Saloon with more from Benton. Watch the video above to hear her plans for the city.


11 p.m.

Challenger Kurtis Purtee will face incumbent Tony Thomas in a runoff this December for District 6 Alderman.

Thomas has held the seat for two decades, winning the spot in 2015 by 60% of the vote.

The runoff will be Dec. 3.


10:15 p.m.

WSAV’s Alex Bozarjian is on Tybee Island at Salt Island Fish and Beer Restaurant with reaction from the city’s new mayor, Shirley Sessions.

Sessions is the first female mayor of Tybee Island in history and told News 3 she is ready for her new role.

“I ran with the intention of winning, that was my goal, and I couldn’t have done it alone,” Sessions said. “I had wonderful supporters and I think I tried to use my past experience and my background to remember what’s important when you’re talking to people and listen to what they want.”

Incumbent Jason Buelterman stopped by the watch party to congratulate Sessions.

See a live update from Tybee Island from WSAV’s Alex Bozarjian in the video above.


9:50 p.m.

Tony Thomas tells News 3 that his experience is what sets him apart from other candidates in tonight’s race.

Thomas is the incumbent for District 6 Alderman in Savannah, a seat that he’s held for two decades. He’s waiting for tonight’s election results with his supporters at a watch party at Carey Hilliard’s.

“I think my experience, I think the fact that I’ve got two decades of serving on the city council and the fact that we got just a very successful service to the district,” Thomas said. “And I think that will parlay into extra votes when we go back out if there are two candidates instead of three.”

WSAV’s Danni Dikes is at Thomas’ watch party at Carey Hilliard’s with live updates. Hear from Thomas in the video above.


9:30 p.m.

Falgun “Pappu” Patel is running for Pooler City Council. He and his supporters are awaiting election results at 201 Tapas Lounge. Patel moved to Pooler to start a business before becoming heavily involved in the community and running for this position.

There will be at least two new faces on the council with Rebecca Benton running for mayor and Larry Oliff not seeking re-election.

WSAV’s Andrew Davis is at Patel’s watch party with him and his supporters. Get a live look in the video above.


9 p.m.

There is a new mayor on Tybee Island. Shirley Sessions has won the election, according to the Tybee City Clerk.

Sessions vacated her seat on the city council in order to run for mayor against Wanda Doyle, who also served on Tybee, and Mack Kitchens.

News 3 is waiting on additional information on council seats.

WSAV’s Alex Bozarjian will be live from Tybee tonight at 10 & 11.


8:40 p.m.

Supporters are also gathered at Soho South Cafe in Savannah in support of Eddie DeLoach.

DeLoach is hoping to keep his seat as Mayor of Savannah after tonight’s race.

Supporters of DeLoach chanted “Four more years!” when he arrived and took the stage to thanks everyone for joining him.

WSAV’s JoAnn Merrigan is at Soho South Cafe covering the watch party. Get an inside look in the video above.


8:30 p.m.

A large crowd of supporters are gathered at Aqua Vitae Lounge in Savannah, where Van Johnson just arrived.

Johnson is running for mayor in Savannah, hoping to take incumbent Eddie DeLoach’s seat.

Johnson arrived at the watch party around 8:30 p.m. announcing, “We’re going to do this tonight. This ends tonight.”

WSAV’s Martin Staunton is at Aqua Vitae Lounge talking with Johnson’s supporters. Watch Van Johnson arrive in the video above.


8 p.m.

The first election night results are starting to come in for the Coastal Empire.

In Effingham County, three Rincon City Council members have been elected. James w. Dasher, Reese Browher and Patrick Kirkland defeated Paul V. Wendelken for council seats.

Still underway in Effingham County is the Guyton race for mayor, along with the Guyton city council races for Post 1 and Post 2.


7 p.m.

The polls have officially closed in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.

As you wait for results to come in, take a closer look at a school bond referendum on the ballot in Beaufort County.

It’s the third time in five years that school officials are asking voters to approve their plan. Tuesday’s vote will decide on $344 million dedicated to improving school facilities, athletic fields and more.

The past two failed by a large number.

Get a full breakdown from WSAV’s Andrew Davis in the video above. We’ll bring you the latest results on-air and online.


5 p.m.

Across 18 local counties, voters are electing 19 mayors and 89 town and council members. There are also 10 initiatives or referendums, from sales tax and liquor sales to a big school bond issue.

Familiar leaders will likely return in some places, but after tonight, we’ll see some fresh faces in our community.

There will definitely be new members of the Savannah City Council. In District 1, District 4 and At-Large Post 2, incumbents are not running again, so new leaders will be elected.

Incumbents in District 2, District 3, District 6 and At-Large Post 1 are being challenged for their seats as well.

Over on Tybee Island, three new faces will be on the council, as only one incumbent is running. There will also be a new mayor. Jason Buelterman is stepping down after serving as mayor for 14 years.

Pooler will be getting a new mayor as well, after 16 years. Mike Lamb is stepping down and has endorsed council member Rebecca Benton. There are two candidates running against her.

In Savannah, eyes are also on the race for mayor. Incumbent Eddie DeLoach is facing three challengers: longtime Alderman Van Johnson, Regina Thomas and Louis Wilson.

JoAnn Merrigan kicks off tonight’s coverage. Watch her overview above.

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