Columbia mayor tops list of local races in South Carolina

October 31, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — There are no statewide elections in South Carolina on Tuesday, but a number of people still will have a reason to go to the polls for local races.

About 200 city, county and other local elections are scheduled for Tuesday, according to the South Carolina Election Commission.

The highest profile race is in Columbia, where Mayor Steve Benjamin decided not to run for a fourth term in the state’s capital and second-largest city amid his growing political profile.

Four candidates — including three with Columbia City Council experience — are running for the job.

Benjamin backed the one who hasn’t been on City Council. Attorney Sam Johnson was barely out of his teens when he worked on Benjamin’s first campaign in 2009 and worked as an aide for the mayor until he left to go to law school. Benjamin said he endorsed Johnson because he has bold ideas and broad support.

The other high profile endorsement in the race came from U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, who is backing City Council member Tameika Isaac Devine. The state’s longest serving and only Democratic U.S. House member said Devine is ready to lead.

The other candidates in the race are current City Council member Daniel Rickenmann and former councilman Moe Baddourah.

The mayor’s seat in Spartanburg is also open after Mayor Junie White decided not to run again. City Councilman Jerome Rice and former city attorney Cathy McCabe are facing off for the position.

Myrtle Beach also has a high profile mayor’s race as Mayor Brenda Bethune is running for a second term after knocking off the incumbent in 2017. Her challengers are retired police officer Tammie Durant, photographer Gene Ho, retired marketing manager Bill McClure and mechanic C.D. Rozsa.