Two seats on the line in upcoming runoffs

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In two weeks, Columbia City Council will fill the final two seats remaining.

Voters will decided if Howard Duvall or Andy Smith will take the council's at-large seat.

Duvall boasts a wealth of local government experience as councilman and mayor in Cheraw as well as the head of the South Carolina Municipal Association. Should he win, Duvall has promised that he would provide a tough examination of the Benjamin agenda.

He faces Andy Smith, the Nickelodeon Theatre director. Smith, who was endorsed by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, has been a significant player in the revival of Columbia's Main Street.

Both candidates will face the tough task of getting voters back to the polls for round two.

"I think it's important for the people to understand the election on November the 17th is an entirely different election," Duvall said. "We don't get to carry forward the 15 percent lead we have. We all start at zero and we want to make sure that we have a majority this time."

Despite facing that tough challenge of getting supporters back to the polls, Smith believes he has a chance to do well again.

"We see the runoff as a real blessing," said Smith. "We got into this pretty late compared to everyone else who'd been running for six, eight months. We've only been running for a little over two months. So getting two more weeks to share our story with everyone in the city to us is a great advantage. We have tremendous momentum coming in."

The at-large seat was held by Cameron Runyan until Tuesday night when the incumbent finished third falling short of clinching a second term.

Also up for grabs in less than two weeks will be the District 2 seat.

On Tuesday, Ed McDowell and Aaron Bishop finished as the top two vote-getters in the election. However, neither were able to come away over 50 percent of the votes.

Both races will be decided on November 17th.

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