GOP Defeated Obama-backed Mayoral Candidate

GOP candidate Daniel Rickenmann has been elected mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, after defeating Obama-backed Democrat Tameika Isaac Devine in a deep blue city. The city is located in a county where Biden won by almost 40 points in the 2020 presidential election.

The Democrat candidate lost, despite Obama’s support

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Obama released an audio message to endorse Democrat mayoral candidate Devine before the elections. Obama also won the city’s county by nearly 29 percent and 33 percentage points in 2008 and 2012, respectively making his endorsements important.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip and a congressman from South Carolina, also endorsed Devine, but failed to lead the candidate towards victory. Clyburn has significant political clout in the state; his endorsement also helped Biden clinch the city’s county by a big margin in the 2020 election.

However, none of these endorsements could stop Rickenmann from winning the mayoral race, as he won 52 percent votes, compared to 48 percent by Devine. Columbia is considered one of the strongholds of Democrats in South Carolina. A win here is a significant achievement for the GOP.

The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Rick Scott, called the victory part of the red wave, which is expected to sweep the nation in the upcoming elections.

Initially, the mayoral elections were conducted on November 2 in Columbia. However, all of the four participants fell short of the 50 percent mark necessary to avoid the runoff elections under the state rules.

Thus, the top two contenders competed again, with Rickenmann emerging victorious. Due to the discrepancies at some locations, the authorities ordered a hand recount of some regions, which is likely to get completed in a couple of days.

Columbia win is the continuation of the current red wave

The popularity of Democrats in the city can be gauged from the fact that just four years ago, Republicans did not challenge then Democrat mayoral nominee Stephen Benjamin, who was expected to have an easy win.

Drew McKissick, the GOP chairman of South Carolina, said the present red wave is unprecedented. It will hopefully help Republicans in defeating Democrats all over South Carolina in 2022. 

He noted despite receiving an endorsement from political heavyweights like Obama, Democrats still lost the election, which suggests the voters have rejected Biden’s agenda.

Steve Benjamin, the outgoing mayor, decided not to seek another term after serving a decade as the city’s executive.

Meanwhile, Rickenmann, a veteran businessman, felt overwhelmed by the massive support of the voters. He thanked the business community and the residents of the city, pledging to work for them in times to come.

While the city’s elections were non-partisan, however, both the major parties picked candidates before the race. Ultimately the GOP-backed candidate came out on top, breaking the decades-old winning streak of Democrats in the city.