Newly released emails from the organization Wikileaks appear to show Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin’s name among a list of three dozen potential choices high-ranking Hillary Clinton campaign staffers were pushing as potential vice presidential choices.
Benjamin’s name was mentioned several times in the emails hacked from the account of Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta. The Hill newspaper reported Tuesday that the mayor’s name was included among 38 others in a “first cut” list of potential running mates that Podesta sent Clinton. The Columbia Free Times was the first South Carolina media outlet to notice Benjamin’s name on the list.
The March 2016 email also mentioned current US Transportation Secretary (and former Charlotte mayor) Anthony Foxx, former primary opponent Bernie Sanders and even billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. It also includes Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, who Clinton ended up choosing.
Benjamin released a statement after the email’s existence was revealed. “I am honored to even be considered in such impressive company but honestly I’m gravely concerned that a foreign state actor continues to try to influence our presidential election and that Donald Trump continues to cheer them on,” he said in reference to public suspicions from the FBI that the Russian government may be behind the hack of Podesta’s emails. [Read more…]