Columbia attorney formally jumps into City Council at-large race

Chris Trainor
·3 min read

Two months ago, Columbia attorney Tyler Bailey hinted he was considering a run for an at-large seat on City Council.

On April 5, he made it official, formally announcing his plans to seek the citywide post. The city’s elections are set for Nov. 2, with filing likely opening in August.

There are currently four candidates for the at-large Council seat: Bailey, businesswoman Heather Bauer, public health researcher Aditi Bussells, and lobbyist Deitra Stover Matthews.

They are seeking the seat that is currently held by Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine, who has held the citywide post for nearly two decades. Devine is running for mayor this year.

Bailey, 32, said he wanted to be certain his family was good with the idea of him seeking public office before he officially jumped in the race.

“I spoke with my family and my wife about it and there were several conversations,” Bailey told The State. “If I didn’t have that support at home and it wasn’t a good time for me, I wasn’t going to jump in the race. ... But everybody was on board and in support of me doing it. As long as home was on board first, that was the last step for me to jumping in.”

Bailey, who runs Columbia’s Bailey Law Firm, has a degree in business management from Hampton University and a law degree from the Southern University Law Center. His parents, Herbert and Marcia Bailey, are senior pastors at Right Direction Church International on Broad River Road.

The attorney said, if elected, he would focus on economic development and infrastructure improvement.

He also said he would make neighborhood safety a priority, and was quick to point out that doesn’t necessarily mean a greater police presence.

“There is a lot of growth coming into the city and we need to make sure neighborhoods are safe and implement new policies that aren’t wholly reliant on law enforcement at all times to address all the issues,” Bailey said. “We want to make sure each neighborhood in the city limits has safety measures in place for kids and everyone else to live a thriving life and be safe in their neighborhood.”

Unlike district seats, at-large posts in Columbia are elected citywide. Bailey said he is comfortable running in what has become a crowded field of candidates.

“As a lawyer, doing the work I do, there is always a crowded field,” he said. “I’ve been able to be successful in my law practice. At the end of the day, the people will make the choice. I believe my experience and and relationships throughout the city will give me an advantage in the race.”

Aside from the at-large race, other seats up for election in the city this year include mayor, District 1 and District 4.

Three candidates Devine, Councilman Daniel Rickenmann, and former mayoral aide Sam Johnson — are running for mayor.

Meanwhile, attorney Tina Herbert is strongly leaning toward a run in north Columbia’s District 1, while businessman Joe Taylor is eyeing a run in District 4, which is located in the northeast portion of the city.