Sypolt drops out, backs Benjamin

Lest you forget, Sypolt was the “Larry” in the “Larry, Moe and Steve” contest for mayor of Columbia.

Here’s the news:

Former deputy Larry Sypolt withdrew from Columbia’s mayoral campaign Monday and threw his support to Mayor Steve Benjamin.

“I think it’s a disservice to the community for Steve and I to run against each other,” Sypolt said in front of police headquarters in downtown Columbia, with Benjamin at his side.

Sypolt dropped out after acknowledging that he has come to agree with Benjamin on public safety and other issues….

Benjamin’s main rival all along has been Moe Baddorah, of course. I was talking to Moe today at Rotary, less than an hour before I saw this news. So I missed a good chance to get his reaction.

I asked how he thought the race was going. “Well,” he said. He asked how I thought it was going, and I said I had no idea. These municipal elections, with their tiny turnout, are so hard to predict. All you have to go on is yard signs (and Moe has plenty of those) and endorsements. And those can be unreliable. All those endorsements didn’t do Daniel Coble all that much good. Moe grinned at that.

Mr. Baddourah, having learned a tough lesson from his defeat at the hands of Seth Rose for county council several years back, is big on door-to-door. He says he’s visited every neighborhood in the city.

And he thinks turnout might be greater than usual, because of the pull of the Richland Library referendum — from both sides of the issue.

But he said “no” when I asked whether that was something he was hearing about as he rang doorbells. Nor, he said, are people talking about strong mayor. So what is he hearing about? “Public safety, infrastructure, water bills, and not trusting the government.”

I also spoke, somewhat more briefly, with Steve Benjamin late Friday afternoon, at a campaign event at City Roots.

He, too, is confident, and he says he has objective reason to feel that way — he got some good numbers from a poll early last week. (I haven’t seen the numbers; but that’s what he said.)

Since I spoke with the mayor, The State has endorsed him. Here’s the link.

How do y’all think it’s going? If you force me to say, I say Benjamin wins fairly handily. But then, you don’t ever count Moe Baddourah out, as Daniel Coble can tell you.

Y’all guesses are at least as good as mine, and probably better. What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Sypolt drops out, backs Benjamin

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    A RichCo political whiz said that if you figure in the precincts likely to vote Benjamin and likely to vote Baddourah, and the historic rates of voter turnout therein, Moe can win.

    I think that Sypolt can throw his weight, such as it is, behind Steve, but some of his supporters would rather not….I would have thought he’d draw more likely Moe voters than likely Steve voters if he stayed in….

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, I think you’re probably right.

      Of course, the person who told me about this at Rotary yesterday thought Sypolt was a stalking horse for Benjamin all along. As with most things, people see it all kinds of ways…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Just got to wondering about the phrase “stalking horse.” Interesting origin. But the definition in Wikipedia is somewhat different from the way I’m using it…

        In their definition, Joe Biden was being a stalking horse when he came out for same-sex marriage shortly before President Obama did — that is, he was a subordinate taking the political risk on something before the main guy steps out.

        I tend to think of it as an ostensible political challenger who is really a backer of another candidate. Not quite the same thing…

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Stalking horse is a great word.

          I once told a lawyer (in an e-mail) that I considered a certain lawsuit to be a “stalking horse” for other litigation, and he had no idea what it meant. He sent me a response asking me what in the world a stalking horse was. I gave him the same answer that I got from my parents when I asked that type of question.

          Go look it up, son.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          RE: Biden and gay marriage, I would say that is more of a “trial balloon” than a stalking horse. I think of a SH as using one thing as a vehicle to achieve an end that you cannot achieve directly.

          In my instance, you had to parties to a lawsuit in Magistrate’s court. In Magistrate’s court, you (typically) cannot conduct discovery or take depositions. You just kind of show up and try your case.

          Since they couldn’t take my client’s deposition in the magistrate’s court case, they sued him in common pleas, in a totally different action, on different facts, on (in my opinion) a bogus claim, merely so they could take his deposition under the guise of the common pleas action. In the deposition, they asked him about things related to the magistrate court action.

          A stalking horse is (in my opinion) closely related to the idea of Trojan Horse. I guess it depends on if you want to reference an old hunting technique or ancient Greek history.

    2. Silence

      It’s possible that Moe can win, but highly unlikely. I think Benjamin will get his GOTV machine ginned up, and win pretty handily. Probably better than 60% if I had to guess.

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