Mayor Steve Benjamin swept 13 more precincts Tuesday than he did in his 2010 runoff election, taking a resounding 40 precincts with strong support, an analysis by The State newspaper has found.
Councilman Moe Baddourah had strong support – meaning at least 60 percent of the vote – in seven of the 69 precincts where votes were cast, the newspaper’s analysis of election figures from the Richland County Elections & Voter Registration office found.
Benjamin had moderate support in 19 precincts, which means he received 50 percent to 60 percent of the vote. Baddourah, a first-term city councilman, got moderate support in five precincts.
Overall, Benjamin took 59 precincts to Baddourah’s 12, the analysis shows. In the April 20, 2010 runoff with then-Councilman Kirkman Finlay, Benjamin took 46 of 73 precincts. That means Benjamin grew his strength in 13 additional precincts.
Election officials opened 72 precincts Tuesday, including absentee balloting at the county election office. No votes were cast in the Lexington County precinct of Challedon, which has few city voters.
The analysis also showed the $59 million bond referendum to improve the Richland County library system won because of Columbia voters’ turnout for it, the analysis shows.
In more than a dozen in-city precincts, voters favored borrowing money by greater than 70 percent of votes cast.
Overall, the referendum won by a 65-35 margin.
Another area that showed strong support for the referendum was the St. Andrews area, where the Broad River Road branch will be upgraded to attract more teenagers with a 12-student learning lab, two tutor rooms and a community meeting room with a kitchen.
Some areas were less enthusiastic about the library tax.
Some parts of Northeast Richland showed less enthusiastic support, though precincts around the Sandhills branch favored the borrowing plan with 50 percent to 70 percent voter endorsement.
Voters in the Blythewood area came out against the measure, as did those in the Lake Murray and Dutch Fork areas.