Rickenmann Benjamin

Councilman Daniel Rickenmann and Mayor Steve Benjamin

It appears Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin will slide into a third term: Filing closed Friday, Sept. 8 for the Nov. 7 City of Columbia election, and no one filed to run against Benjamin. This will be the first mayoral election in which he will not face an opponent since being elected in 2010. Also, no one filed to run against Councilman Daniel Rickenmann in District 4.  There will be two contested races on the city ballot: Five-term District 1 Councilman Sam Davis, the longest tenured member of Council, will face off against challenger Chris Sullivan, a politically active public relations firm owner. And at-large incumbent Tameika Isaac Devine, an attorney, will seek her fifth term in office, facing challenger Joe Azar, owner of Upstairs Audio and Video in Five Points. Azar is no stranger to city elections, as he has run for various offices a number of times. — Chris Trainor

Emails Show Nuclear Tumult

Newly released emails show SCANA and state-owned utility Santee Cooper were at the throat of Westinghouse and its parent company Toshiba in the buildup to the shutdown at the V.C. Summer nuclear energy facility. The Post and Courier reports that SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh said in an email that the utility was a victim of “financial malfeasance” at the hands of Westinghouse, designer of the nuclear reactors and one-time lead contractor. Marsh also told a top Toshiba exec that the Westinghouse owner was “not acting honorably” and creating a catastrophic situation. Santee Cooper’s president called Westinghouse’s actions during construction “devastating” and jabbed at the nuclear builder’s lack of transparency. These email exchanges happened as SCANA officials assured state regulatory bodies that the project was on schedule and completable.

David Travis Bland

Two Die After Toddler Finds Gun

A Columbia man committed suicide after his 2-year-old son accidentally shot himself. According to city police, the toddler found a loaded gun inside his family’s house and shot himself, dying of a gunshot wound to the head. His mother called 911 to report the shooting. The boy’s father then shot himself in the head. — Eva Moore

Pascoe Pushes Back on Courson

Special prosecutor David Pascoe has filed legal papers in an attempt to derail indicted state Sen. John Courson’s attempt to have misconduct charges against him dropped. Courson is implicated in Pascoe’s long-running State House corruption probe, accused of paying campaign cash to Richard Quinn’s consulting firm, then having some of that money funneled back to him. He has argued that Pascoe has no legal right to file charges against him. Pascoe calls that argument absurd, according to The Post and Courier, and noted that the state attorney general’s office appointed him to the case because it had recused itself and that his authority in the case has been upheld by the state Supreme Court. — Chris Trainor

North Korea Calls Nikki Haley a “Political Prostitute”

The state-run media in North Korea on Friday called U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley a “political prostitute” who has been “crazily swishing her skirt” in some of her recent comments about North Korea. Haley recently said that North Korea is practically “begging for war” with nuclear tests and that the United States’ “patience is not unlimited” in regard to North Korea’s various missile tests and sabre rattling. “Nikki should be careful with her tongue though she might be a blind fool,” the North Korean news agency said. “The U.S. administration will have to pay a dear price for her tongue-lashing.” — Chris Trainor

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