NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Incumbent mayor of North Myrtle Beach, Marilyn Hatley, handily defeated challenger Chris Paino with 75 percent of the vote Tuesday. Incumbents also won both council seats in contention.
Hatley received 2,765 votes to Paino's 905, so she will remain the mayor of the city.
"It's always exciting to win!" Mayor Hatley said. "It's a great day in North Myrtle Beach for me and for the incumbents. First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who went out and voted today. North Myrtle Beach is an absolutely great place – it's an honor for me to serve as the mayor of North Myrtle Beach. Tomorrow, we're going to roll up our sleeves and get back to work, and we're going to keep the city moving forward as we have done in the past years."
Hatley continued, saying a big sports tourism project will be announced soon.
"I'm working with a group of investors right now that we hope will be able to announced real soon, a big sports tourism complex and so we are very close to pulling it altogether and if it happens it's going to be one of the biggest things for North Myrtle Beach," she said.
Hatley also congratulated her challenger, Paino for running against her and said he ran a very clean and respectful campaign.
Incumbents also retained their seats in the city council: Nikki Fontana will remain in the Windy Hill seat, and Robert Cavanaugh will retain his seat in the council at-large. Fontana received 53 percent of the vote against one challenger and Cavanaugh had 65 percent against two challengers. Terry White ran unopposed for the Ocean Drive council seat, and received 2,894 votes against 5 write-in votes.
Roger Clark and his wife has lived in North Myrtle Beach the past fourteen years and came out to vote Tuesday evening.
"I'm happy that someone challenges, but we're so happy with the way things are going in the city that I don't see a reason for change," Clark said. "We don't hear any bickering in city hall. We like what they do with our tax money. It's a very progressive city; it's a place we are proud to live and don't see a need to change from the folks we have in there now."
North Myrtle Beach said the votes will be counted again Thursday at 10 a.m.