The field is set for Columbia's November elections - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

The field is set for Columbia's November elections

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The field appears to be set for Columbia's city elections, and we now have a clear idea of the matchups with the passage of the deadline to file for municipal office.

There were no late surprises as we have three candidates for mayor, incumbent Steve Benjamin who filed this week, but as we all know has been running for a second term for much longer.

Benjamin will be up against fellow councilman and restaurant owner Moe Baddourah and law enforcement veteran Larry Sypolt.

We've given a good deal of attention to that race, so let's move on to the lesser known candidates.

There are three challengers to three well-entrenched incumbents. In Council District One, Sam Davis faces businessman, community activist, and former Los Angeles cop Bruce Trezevant. In District Dour, a bit of a surprise with first-term incumbent Leona Plaugh getting a challenge from longtime real estate developer Todd Walter. And in the at-large race, attorney Tameika Devine will face off against electrical contractor Tommy Burkett.

Watching from the sidelines this year is veteran candidate Joe Azar. We spoke to him today about what's become the high financial demands of mounting a city council run.

"Actually in the mayor's race between the first and the runoff, was almost seven figures. If you look at how much that costs per voter, it was $30 to $50 a voter to "buy a vote." That's outrageous," said Azar. "We're spending more on city council seats than we're spending on State House seats. It's unbelievable."

Turnout is always a big issue when it comes to Columbia city elections. This time, however, they are being held in November. That may affect turnout since many people are conditioned to thinking of voting for political leaders in the fall.

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