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Daniel Rickenmann elected as new mayor of Columbia

Rickenmann got 52 percent of the vote to Devine's 48 percent.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Daniel Rickenmann will be the next mayor of Columbia, after he defeated fellow councilmember Tameika Isaac Devine in a close race in Tuesday's runoff election. 

In final but unofficial results, Rickenmann got 52 percent of the vote to Devine's 48 percent. In total numbers, it was 10,554 to 9,762, a difference of 792 votes. 

Devine was leading for most of the night, but late results from some precincts that leaned heavily for Rickenmann put him ahead. 

"It was an incredible thing," Rickenman said at the podium surrounded by his family after the win. "Everyone who supported us. It's about one Columbia. We are not divided we are united!"

Devine said she called Rickenmann shortly after the results were out and congratulated him.

RELATED: Aditi Bussells wins Columbia City Council at-large seat

"I am so proud of the race that we ran," Devine said. "Our vision of a more inclusive and equitable Columbia may be delayed but it is not gone."

Both were vying to succeed Steve Benjamin, who decided not to seek re-election after 11 years leading the city.

Rickenmann represents Columbia’s District 4. He was first elected as an At-Large member in 2004 and served two terms before not seeking re-election.

In 2018, he was elected to represent Columbia’s District 4. A business consultant, Rickenmann has owned and partnered to operate several restaurants in Columbia’s Five Points area, including Birds on A Wire, MoMo’s Bistro and Yo Burrito.

He'll be sworn in at a City Council meeting on January 4.

Devine, the city's at-large councilwoman, was seeking to become the first female mayor in city history. 

Aditi Bussells, a political newcomer, will replace Devine in her seat. Bussells defeated Tyler Bailey in the other runoff for the at-large seat.   

Benjamin offered congratulations to the two new members of Columbia's leadership. Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Daniel Rickenmann  & Councilwoman-Elect Aditi Bussells on their big wins tonight. The City of Columbia  is a special place and I know they will serve us well. 

The vote will be certified later in the week.

While the unofficial results released show a winner, this vote will undergo a full hand count recount that was ordered by the South Carolina Election Commission. 

Howard Knapp, the interim executive director of the commission, said he ordered the recount after hearing what happened at some precincts.  Some precincts weren't able to get the right ballot for voters when polls opened. The problem was corrected, but some voters had to vote on emergency paper ballots while others claimed they were turned away at the polls.

South Carolina State Election Commission (SEC) Spokesman Chris Whitmire said the problem was made by Election Systems & Software, who prepared the file for electronic poll books used in the elections. Those poll books are used to make sure voters get the correct ballot. The problem meant that when voters went to the machine to make their selections for candidate, no ballot displayed.  

Whitmire said the vendor has apologized for the error, but he added that the problem should also have been caught by the Richland County Elections Office when they did their review on Monday, the day before the election. Whitmire said the SEC will be following up with the company and the county to make sure this problem doesn't happen again.  

Whitmire said the problem should not have prevented any voters from voting.

    

  

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