Koopman wins Charleston Public Works Commissioner race

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) It was a quiet race that still managed to garner national attention, the public works commissioner race for Charleston County.

Incumbent William Koopman walked away with 53 percent of the vote. Challenger, Catherine LaFond, came in with 46 percent.

LaFond had received the most votes during the Nov. 5 election and had expected to come in first again Tuesday night.

"It surprised me," said LaFond. "I think the best man might have won and maybe Billy is best suited for that."

Even though the second time was not the charm, LaFond celebrated her campaign at Triangle Bar & Grill in West Ashley Tuesday.

LaFond gained national attention after an LGBT advocacy group named her in one of their '10 Races to Watch' articles.

The Charleston lawyer, who is openly gay, believes the focus on her sexual orientation may have actually cost her votes in the lost run.

"We didn't start talking about this until two weeks ago, so prior to that when I got most of the votes we weren't talking about this issue. You have to wonder if because it was brought up that might have led to the results we had," said LaFond.

As the numbers came in Tuesday, Koopman chose to remain low key but was pleased by the outcome.

"I'm thrilled. I'm humbled," said Koopman.

He says he wants to continue being considered a servant to the people, not a politician.

"All I want to do is just get in there and work and solve the problems and concerns of the people who have relations with CPW," said Koopman.

Koopman says he will be sworn in sometime in January.

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