A pair of challengers seeking to unseat District 3 Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah continue to raise more campaign cash than the two-term incumbent.
Baddourah is seeking re-election in November’s municipal election, and has drawn two challengers so far: educator John Loveday and construction and design firm owner Will Brennan. City Council’s District 3 is in central and southeast Columbia and includes such neighborhoods as Shandon and Rosewood.
State Ethics Commission records indicate that Brennan led the campaign fundraising field in District 3 for the second quarter, raising $22,145 for the April-June period. Brennan has now raised $43,753 for the election cycle, and had $32,488 in cash on hand as of the end of June. Brennan ran for Richland County Council in 2018, but fell to Allison Terracio in a hotly contested Democratic primary.
Among Brennan’s donors for the second quarter were businessman Scott Middleton ($1,000), attorney Jay Bender ($200) and influential former Richland County Councilwoman Kit Smith ($1,000).
Meanwhile, Loveday collected $14,596 in donations for the most recent quarter. He’s picked up $60,202 in campaign cash for the election cycle, which is the most in the race. As of the end of June he had $46,969 in cash on hand.
Some of Loveday’s notable donors included former state Sen. Joel Lourie ($200), the law office of former University of South Carolina football star Todd Ellis ($250) and Orangeburg state Sen. Brad Hutto ($250).
And then there’s Baddourah. He raised $4,025 during the second quarter, and has taken in a total of $12,625 for the election cycle. State records show he has $9,755 in campaign cash on hand.
Columbia attorney Lewis Cromer was among Baddourah’s second quarter donors, kicking in $200.
Baddourah is seeking a third term on Council, but his second term has been tumultuous.
He was arrested in July 2016 and charged with criminal domestic violence after allegedly hitting his then-wife with a car door in the parking lot of a restaurant. Subsequently, he was suspended from office in March 2017 by Gov. Henry McMaster, and remained suspended for a year and a half while his case was pending in court. Baddourah entered pre-trial intervention in the case in September 2018, and was reinstated by McMaster a month later.
Since his return, he has reassumed his role as one of the more vocal members of Council. For instance, in January he called for the resignation of Columbia Housing Authority Executive Director Gilbert Walker after two men died from gas leaks at the Allen Benedict Court housing projects, and earlier this month he pushed back when a massage parlor wanted to set up shop near the ritzy Heathwood neighborhood.
Aside from the District 3 race, the at-large seat currently held by Howard Duvall and the District 2 seat currently held by Ed McDowell are also up for election this year.
Ethics records show Duvall raised $3,580 in the second quarter, which is his total for the election cycle. Duvall, who is seeking a second term, is being challenged by Dylan Gunnels, a refugee services coordinator at Lutheran Services Carolinas. Gunnels received $1,430 in donations in the second quarter, and has raised $2,150 for the election cycle.
Meanwhile, McDowell raised $11,180 in the April-June period, which is all of his fundraising for this election cycle, so far. No one has yet publicly announced a run against McDowell, a pastor.
And then there’s Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. Despite the fact he’s not up for re-election until 2021, the mayor was able to haul in $8,700 in donations in the second quarter. That gives him a $232,000 campaign war chest with his next city race still more than two years away.