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Taylor Brown: City Of Columbia Election Update




taylor brown|| By TAYLOR BROWN || The upcoming at-large Columbia, S.C. city council race has been a yawn so far.  It is generated no heat, less light and little interest.  In truth, these elections are low turnout affairs with voter participation usually registering in the low to mid-teens.  Yes, you read that right – low to mid-teens.

Most people don’t even know who is running: Which is where FITS can help.  As this website noted (in an unrelated story) Howard Duvall is running against incumbent councilman Cameron Runyan.  In my personal opinion, Runyan is a dead man walking – no one seems to like or trust him.  He went from being mayor Steve Benjamin‘s “chosen one” to being persona non grata at City Hall in a relatively short amount of time.

Others on the race include Joe Azar, John Adams, Andy Smith … perhaps some house pets are running, too?

Speaking of house pets, Smith was recruited by Benjamin to do his bidding.  Azar?  He’s run for office many times before and seems to be the only candidate in the race who has demonstrated a working knowledge of city government.  John Adams?  He just wants an office, any office will do.

But back to Duvall …

According to my sources, he is the hand-picked candidate of former Richland County councilwoman Kit Smith.  A wealthy liberal who travels extensively and maintains multiple homes, Smith did not want to tie herself down with public service – but did want a reliable minion to continue doing her bidding.

That’s where Duvall comes in …

Duvall is no conservative.  His former job was shilling for city governments as head of the liberal Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC).

His current job title?  Grumpy Old Man.

During the democratic presidential debate I referred to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders as that old man you would see yelling at a waitress because he’s a jerk and … well, deaf.


This is something that I imagine Duvall would do … but probably at an Olive Garden.

Recently, Duvall was asked about his stance on the city stealing money from its water and sewer fund, which is going to cost users over a billion dollars to fix.  Unbelievably, Duvall reportedly supports the city continuing to pilfer from this fund.  In fact his old special interest recently filed a brief with the S.C. Supreme Court in support of the city continuing to take money from the fund, even in light of the current problems, and in contradiction of state law.

Joe Azar supports creating a commission that’s independent of the City and represents all users – which I think is fair.

I want to support Andy Smith, but with Benjamin endorsing his candidacy I just can’t.  That is sad; I really want an independent voice for the arts on council, but, sadly, I do not think Smith has the stones to stand up to Benjamin and his corporate cronies.

In fact I believe Smith was recruited because Benjamin knows he will be an easy mark …

Sadly, I put my money on Duvall to win this race – but I plan on voting for Joe Azar, and would encourage anyone who cares about city government spending their money wisely to do the same.

Taylor Brown is a 20-something Wofford College graduate who somehow got sucked into politics at an early age.  She is easily won over with Rush’s fast food, wine, and spirited political arguments.