Two top Democrats endorsed their party’s mayoral candidate in the reliably blue city of Columbia, S. C., but it wasn’t enough for her to win.
No less than former President Barack Obama and House Majority Whip James Clyburn threw their support behind Democratic mayoral candidate Tameika Isaac Devine, but in the end, she came up short, losing to GOP candidate Danial Rickenmann, a local businessman and Columbia city council member, by a margin of 52-48 percent in Tuesday’s election.
Even more damning for Democrats is the fact that President Joe Biden carried the county where Columbia is situated by nearly 40 points in the 2020 election, Fox News reported Wednesday evening.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the former president put out an audio message supporting Devine. He won the county by 29 points in 2008 and increased his margin to 33 points in 2012.
Clyburn, meanwhile, is one of the South’s more prominent Democrats, and he is also a leading figure in the black community; several political observers believe his support for then-Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden was the difference-maker and saved what was then a flagging campaign.
But neither of their endorsements were enough to push Devine across the finish line.
As for Obama, he is 0-2 in endorsement victories during this electoral off-season. He went all-in for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who lead the state once before during part of Obama’s second term, even attending campaign events on the stump in a bid to turn out voters. But McAuliffe lost to now-Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, a businessman, and first-time political candidate whose pro-parents messaging appeared to resonate with a majority of Virginia voters.
That said, Fox News noted that “Columbia has been so reliably blue over the last several years that Republicans didn’t put forth a challenger to Rickenmann’s Democratic predecessor, Mayor Stephen Benjamin.”
Rickenmann’s win touched off more celebrations within the GOP, as several top elected leaders see his and other electoral victories as a sign of things to come next year as Biden’s approval rating tanks, Vice President Harris’ numbers crater even more, and Americans become increasingly nervous and angry over so-called “kitchen table issues” like higher gas and food prices.
Columbia, SC has been led by Dem mayors for 30 years. @JoeBiden won this city by 30 points in 2020 and @BarackObama campaigned for the Democrat. But last night, Republican @Rickenmann had a big win. The red wave is coming!” tweeted Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Wednesday.
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) November 17, 2021
But some Democratic leaders are reading a different set of tea leaves to explain away the losses.
For instance, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested this week that the loss of support for Harris wasn’t related to policy but rather race and sex.
“I do think that it has been easier and harsher from some in the right wing who have gone after her because she is the first woman, the first woman of color. I’m not suggesting anyone will acknowledge that publicly,” Psaki told Politico’s “Women Rule” podcast Wednesday.
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