By Lauren Cohen
Posted 9:16 AM April 7, 2010
The votes are in and Columbia mayoral candidates Kirkman Finlay and Steve Benjamin are headed to a runoff. Benjamin received 36 percent of the vote, Finlay received 32 percent in Tuesday's vote. Attorney Steve Morrison finished in third place with 30 percent. About 27 percent of Columbia's registered voters cast ballots in the election.
The runoff vote will be Tuesday, April 20.
Both runoff candidates thanked the voters after the vote totals were announced. Finlay said he was excited about the runoff because this will give the two the opportunity to really debate the issues. Now he says he'll hitting the campaign trail again.
"I'm gonna get up I the morning have a city council meeting and then go at it hard," Finlay says.
Benjamin says he's focusing on the future.
"It's half time the games not over we have to get reengaged, and spread our message across the city in hopes that people will come back out and vote," he said.
Finlay is a city councilman and entrepreneur. He owns Doc's BBQ on Shop Road and Pawley's Front Porch in Five Points. He's the son of a former mayor and has lived in Columbia his entire life.
Benjamin has practiced law for the past fifteen years and lives in Northeast Columbia. He was student body president and president of the Student Bar Association at the University of South Carolina. If elected Benjamin would be the city's first black mayor.
Third-place finisher Morrison called to congratulate both Finlay and Benjamin Tuesday night but has not endorsed either candidate.