Benjamin Re-Elected as Mayor; 2 Upsets in Lex. Co.

1:22 AM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
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Steve Benjamin

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin won re-election Tuesday night, but two longtime Lexington County mayors lost their seats.

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With all precincts reporting, Benjamin had 63 percent of the vote. He defeated Moe Baddourah, a city councilman who's been critical of Benjamin's administration.

Benjamin was first elected in 2010.

"We have a bold vision for Columbia," Benjamin said. "Columbia could be the most talented, educated, and entrepreneurial city in America. But we can only get their by going there together."

Next month, voters will go to the polls to decide if they'll change the form of government to make Benjamin a "strong-mayor." Currently, many administrative duties in the city are performed by the city manager.

Meanwhile, Columbia City Council members Tameika Isaac Devine, Sam Davis, and Leona Plaugh cruised to new terms in their races.

While Benjamin looks forward to another four years in office, two other mayors familiar to many in the Midlands saw an end to their time as the leaders of their towns. Randy Halfacre of Lexington was defeated by challenger Steve MacDougall. Halfacre was one of the key figures in the push to bring an distribution center to the county.

The winning margin was just 18 votes, and there's a possibility of a recount.

In Chapin, Stan Shealy is out after 32 years leading the town. He'll be replaced by Skip Wilson, who won by 17 votes. 

"I have been blessed beyond measure to have the privilege of serving the community in which I was born and raised for 32 years as Mayor," Shealy wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday night. "I'm sure that is quite long enough, and that God has other plans for me."


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