Larry Sypolt, a long shot candidate for mayor of Columbia, S.C., is dropping out of the race and endorsing incumbent Steve Benjamin, sources tell FITS.

Sypolt was not immediately available for comment – but his campaign confirmed he is appearing alongside Benjamin at a 1:00 p.m. press conference in downtown Columbia to make the announcement.

A former analyst with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Sypolt has been one of Benjamin’s most aggressive critics – particularly on the issue of public safety. Why has he all of a sudden decided to “embrace (Benjamin’s) vision for keeping Columbia safe?”

(His campaign’s words, not ours …)

It’s sure as hell not because the city is any safer …

Oh well, we’re sure taxpayers will be subsidizing the answer just as soon as Benjamin gets reelected next week.

UPDATE: Benjamin has named Sypolt chairman of his task force on public safety. Phase one of the sellout.