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Columbia Mayor Benjamin on Clinton’s possible VP list, hacked email shows

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton speaks in West Columbia

Mayors from South Carolina joined democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton during a campaign stop at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia.
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Mayors from South Carolina joined democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton during a campaign stop at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin made a list of potential vice-presidential picks floated to Hillary Clinton, according to a hacked email released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday.

The email apparently is from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. It is one of hundreds that WikiLeaks has released recently.

The email from March lists about 40 people making the “first cut” of potential vice-presidential candidates organized into “rough food groups.” The groupings include women, Latinos, white and black leaders, and notable business and military leaders, including as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda.

Benjamin is among a list of seven African-American leaders, including U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, a former Charlotte mayor.

The list also included Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine and her primary challenger, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“I am honored and humbled to have been considered in such august company,” Benjamin said Tuesday when asked about making the list. “I am encouraged to know the campaign looked at a wide range of leaders that represent our nation’s diversity.”

Benjamin, who was at a White House state dinner Tuesday and responded by text, did not immediately answer a question about whether the Clinton campaign had reached out to him about being on the list.

Columbia’s mayor since 2010, Benjamin spoke at the Democratic National Convention in July, later sitting next to former President Bill Clinton.

The Clinton campaign has not said whether the hacked emails are authentic. Podesta has said the FBI is investigating the hacking of his email account as part of an ongoing probe into the hacking of other Democratic sources by groups with Russian ties.

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