Rickenmann wins campaign cash battle in Columbia mayoral race. How much came in?

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District 4 Columbia City Councilman Daniel Rickenmann led the pack in fundraising in the capital city mayoral race, as candidates have filed their last financial reports before the Nov. 2 municipal election

Collectively, the four hopefuls who are hoping to replace departing Mayor Steve Benjamin have raised more than $1 million in an effort to win Columbia’s top political post.

Rickenmann, who has served three terms on City Council across two stints, raked in $146,385 for the most recent filing period. He has raised more than $404,000 for the whole election cycle and had about $179,871 in cash on hand with the election coming up in less than two weeks.

Some notable names among Rickenmann’s campaign contributors in the most recent period were Richland County Councilman Joe Walker III, 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton and several businesses, including Southern Way Hospitality and Bernie’s fried chicken restaurant on Bluff Road.

Meanwhile, at-large Columbia City Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine reported $137,761 in campaign cash in the most recent filing period. That included a $1,000 donation from herself to the campaign. For the whole election cycle, Devine has raised $367,890 in campaign dollars. Ethics Commission records show she has $96,674 in cash on hand.

Some of Devine’s donors in the most recent period included former Democratic state Sen. Joel Lourie, former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler and Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford.

Sam Johnson, a former chief of staff to Benjamin, reported $114,179.30 in contributions for the most recent filing period. That included about $107,000 in cash contributions, $5,896 in in-kind contributions and $1,121 from Johnson himself. He has raised $266,630 for the election cycle and has $157,614 in campaign cash on hand.

Noteworthy names among Johnson’s contributors include Benjamin and City Councilmen Sam Davis and Ed McDowell. All three of those men have publicly endorsed Johnson’s mayoral effort.

While the other three candidates in the mayoral race have effectively been campaigning since February, former District 3 City Councilman Moe Baddourah came into the fray comparatively late, announcing his run in August. In his recent filing, Baddourah reported $12,000 in campaign contributions for the race so far, which includes a $5,000 loan. Among his donors is Amadeo Geere, who was an at-large candidate for Columbia City Council in 2019.

The election is Nov. 2. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote on Nov. 2, there will be a runoff between the top two finishers on Nov. 16.

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