HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The results are officially in for the primary winners in Horry County.
This came after a delay in certifying the votes because of eight machines being unaccounted for, according to the Horry County Election Commission.
With three tight races, all eyes were on were Thursday's certification. Once those votes were certified, local attorney Johnny Gardner was declared the winner in the race to be the next chairman of the Horry County Council. He beat incumbent Mark Lazarus by nearly 200 votes.
Gardner amassed 12,358 votes, while Lazarus brought it 12,161.
"I think the voters were sending a message they wanted change, but those voters ran up against the Myrtle Beach machinery that is the incumbents," Gardner said. "I mean, it is very hard to unseat an incumbent there."
While a recount has been ordered due to the close margin of victory in this and the other two races, the results aren't expected to change. Looking ahead, Gardner said his first focus will be on public safety.
"Now we won't take office until January, so we've got a long ways to get ready for things that we'll be doing, but public safety and doing business out in the open - total transparency in how we do business - those are the two biggest things," he said.
Incumbent Bill Howard came out on top in the Horry County Council District 2 race, beating challenger Dean Pappas by 30 votes.
Howard had 1,381 votes, while Pappas had 1,351. The winner said he's ready for the next four years that are ahead.
"Carolina Forest is very important to me; it needs a lot of infrastructure," Howard said. "We've already talked about putting in some more police and sub stations there and I hope to get that completed over the next few years. Taking care of our policeman and firefighters is the most important thing for the future."
Next, William Bailey, the Republican State House District 104 winner, outpaced incumbent Greg Duckworth by 18 votes. The North Myrtle Beach native said his passion for the area will help him lead the district next.
"Of course there were some forces out there that had half the voters practically, but I think our issues will bring everyone together. It's about improving their roads and everyday life. It's not about big projects, it's about helping out our families," Bailey said.
The Horry County Election Commission said no one has talked about an appeal or a protest and if there is one, a candidate must turn it into their party chairman by Monday, June 18.