Meet Steven Benjamin, Columbia, South Carolina’s First Black Mayor

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s capital city has elected its first black mayor.

With just a few precincts remaining, results from the Richland County Election Commission show lawyer and lobbyist Steve Benjamin won Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election in Columbia with 10,784 votes, or 56 percent. City Councilman Kirkman Finlay III got 8,558 votes, or 44 percent.

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Benjamin won the election earlier this month by about 1,000 votes, but fell well short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

Benjamin is a 40-year-old father of two whose political experience includes leading the state Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole for three years.

Benjamin will replace Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, who decided last year to step aside after 20 years in office.

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