by David Waterman, WVOC in Columbia
Columbia residents have to make a second trip to the voting booth before they’ll know who will be their first new mayor in 20 years. With seven candidates vying for the office, it was almost expected no one would get more than 50 percent of the vote.
Sure enough, that’s what happened.
So the top two vote-getters are in a runoff election April 2o — lawyer and lobbyist Steve Benjamin and current city councilman Kirkman Finlay III.
It gives the 40-year-old Benjamin another shot at becoming Columbia’s first black mayor, and the 40-year-old Finlay gets a second chance to follow in the footsteps of his father, Kirkman Finlay Jr., who was Columbia’s mayor from 1978 to ’86.
The current mayor, 56-year-old Bob Coble, decided not to seek a sixth term so he could spend more time with his family and concentrate on his law practice.