News & Politics

2022 Harbinger? Republican Elected as Columbia, SC Mayor for First Time in Almost Ever

(Screencap courtesy WLTX 19 News.)

A Republican elected mayor in Columbia, South Carolina, an overwhelmingly Democrat city?

Yep.

Republican Daniel Rickenmann has won Tuesday’s runoff election against Democrat Tameika Isaac Devine, local news station WLTX reports.

The office is officially non-partisan, but both candidates received support from their respective parties. Both sit together on the Columbia City Council.

Columbia is 42% black, and none other than former president Barack Obama robocalled for Devine.

“I’m just overwhelmed by all the support from the business community, the citizens of Columbia, the young people and the old, a cross-section of people,” Rickenmann told supporters Tuesday night. “I’m just excited about the opportunity to serve them and get to work.”

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Results won’t be certified until Thursday morning, but without some kind of hidden treasure trove of “found” ballots, Rickenmann appears to be the mayor-elect.

For her part, Devine seems resigned to her loss. She told supporters Tuesday night, “I will tell you that although I am no longer going to be in an elected position in this city, my work in this city is not done.”

The last time Columbia voters put a Republican in the mayor’s office was when they elected T. Patton Adams in 1986. Adams served one term.

Presidentish Joe Biden owes a huge debt to South Carolina voters. His big win there during the 2020 Democrat primaries was the turning point on his initially rocky road to the nomination. Biden won an astounding 71% of Columbia’s primary votes against rival Bernie Sanders and a handful of other candidates.

Richland County, where Columbia is located, went for Biden in the general election by a better than two-to-one margin: 68% Biden, 30% Trump.

Rickenmann won Tuesday night with a less-commanding but still-impressive 52% of the vote.

Did I mention he’s a Republican?

In at least this one election, Columbia’s support for the Democrat standard-bearer declined by a whopping 20 points. Support for the Republican increased by 22.

That is nothing short of remarkable and ought to serve as a wake-up call for an increasingly woke Democrat party that is also increasingly distanced from its core constituencies.

But it probably won’t, which has me all excited about 2022.