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Columbia Mayoral candidates debate ahead of next week's decisive election

Daniel Rickenmann and Tameika Isaac Devine answered questions from the moderators and viewers.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia mayoral candidates Daniel Rickenmann and Tameika Isaac Devine debated the issues Wednesday night, just six days before the race that will decide which one of them will be the next mayor of Columbia. 

News19 is partnered with the Post & Courier to host a mayoral debate, with News19's J.R. Berry and Post & Courier's Andy Shain serving as co-moderators.

Voters will choose between Rickenmann and Devine in a runoff race on Tuesday, November 16.

In the general election, no candidate got 50 percent of the vote, which under Columbia election rules means a runoff is required. Rickenmann got 44 percent of the vote, with Devine second with 30 percent.  The two are longtime members of the city council. Sam Johnson finished third and Moe Baddourah finished fourth.  

Watch on YouTube: Columbia Mayoral Debate

Devine was the first African American woman elected to Columbia’s At-Large District in 2002. During her time on City Council, Devine worked to establish the City’s Criminal Domestic Violence Task Force and the Affordable Housing Task Force, co-chaired the Workforce Initiative Project (WIP), and aided the reorganization of the City’s courts system.

RELATED: Daniel Rickenmann, Tameika Isaac Devine head to runoff for Columbia mayor

Rickenmann was first elected as an At-Large member in 2004 and served two terms before not seeking re-election. He was elected to represent District 4 in 2018. 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.

RELATED: Bussells, Bailey to meet in runoff for Columbia City Council at-Large seat

Columbia is picking a new mayor because incumbent Steve Benjamin choose not to seek re-election after 11 years in office. Benjamin was the city’s first African-American mayor. Benjamin said he was leaving to focus on his law firm and family.

Columbia has had just two mayors in the past 31 years, with Bob Coble's 20 years preceding Benjamin's term.