Mayor Steve Benjamin threw his support Wednesday morning behind Cameron Runyan, the first announced candidate for an at-large Columbia City Council seat after the incumbent said last week he is not running.
"I have every confidence that he is our best choice," Benjamin said at the steps of City Hall with Runyan and his family at the candidate's side.
Runyan, 34, lost a 2008 race for the same seat to two-term incumbent Daniel Rickenmann.
Runyan said his range of experience will single him out of what some city leaders say will be a crowded field in the April election.
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"Four years ago I was frustrated (with city government)," Runyan said. "Today I'm more optimistic."
He credited Benjamin and Rickenmann for helping pull the city from its financial mess.
"I want to thank the mayor not only for his endorsement but for his vision."