Stephen K. Benjamin
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Stephen K. Benjamin

Stephen K. Benjamin
36th Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina

July 1, 2010
Bob Coble
President of the
United States Conference of Mayors

May 7, 2018
Mitch Landrieu
Vice President of the United States Conference of Mayors

June 26, 2016 - May 7, 2018
Bryan K. Barnett
Director of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services of South Carolina

GovernorJim Hodges
Stephen Bernie
Joan Meacham
Personal details
Stephen Keith Benjamin

(1969-12-01) December 1, 1969 (age 49)
Queens, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)DeAndrea Gist
ResidenceColumbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of South Carolina

Stephen Keith "Steve" Benjamin (born December 1, 1969) is an American politician and businessman serving as 36th and current mayor of Columbia, South Carolina since July 2010. He is the first African American mayor in the city's history. Before serving as mayor, he worked in the Columbia metropolitan area as an attorney and served on various charitable organizations. On November 8, 2017, Benjamin won re-election for a third term as mayor with no votes because no other candidate filed. Benjamin was declared re-elected. [1] Mayor Benjamin currently serves as President of the United States Conference of Mayors.[2]

Early life, education, and career

Benjamin's parents are from Orangeburg, South Carolina, but relocated in the 1960s during the Great Migration and moved to Queens, New York, where Benjamin was born. Benjamin moved to Columbia to attend the University of South Carolina to study Political Science.

He was actively involved in the student chapter of NAACP, eventually becoming president. Benjamin was also elected as student body president during his undergraduate career and went on to become president of the University of South Carolina School of Law student bar association during his third year. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.[]

In 1999, Benjamin was appointed by Democratic Governor Jim Hodges to lead the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, a position which he held until 2003.[3] In 2002, Benjamin led an unsuccessful campaign to become the Attorney General of South Carolina as a Democratic candidate, defeated by the Republican Henry McMaster by a margin of 11%. [4]

In 2010, Benjamin won a special election to become the mayor of Columbia, SC, succeeding Bob Coble. In November 2017, Benjamin was the only candidate to file for mayoral election. Benjamin, therefore, did not appear on the ballot and was automatically declared to be re-elected without any votes. [1]

Electoral history

Mayor of Columbia, 2017
Candidate Votes %
Steve Benjamin 0
  • Benjamin was the only candidate to file; he was automatically declared re-elected with no votes.[1]
Mayor of Columbia, 2013 [5]
Candidate Votes %
Steve Benjamin 10,401 64.1
Moe Baddourah 5,594 34.4
Other 224 1.5
Mayor of Columbia, 2010 (Special Runoff)[6]
Candidate Votes %
Steve Benjamin 10,894 55.2
Kirkman Finlay III 8,845 44.8
Mayor of Columbia, 2010 (Special)[7]
Candidate Votes %
Steve Benjamin 6,067 35.5
Kirkman Finlay III 5,485 32.1
Steve Morrison 5,053 29.5
Other 472 2.9
South Carolina Attorney General Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Henry McMaster 601,931 55.48
Democratic Steve Benjamin 482,560 44.48
Write-ins Write-ins 498 0.05

Career before mayoralty

Benjamin was the principal of the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, in Columbia, South Carolina where his practice emphasized governmental strategic planning, administrative and regulatory work, municipal finance and general business matters.

On March 2, 1999, Benjamin was appointed to the Governor's Cabinet by Governor Jim Hodges serving as the Director of the South Carolina Probation, Pardon, and Parole Services. Benjamin has also served as the Regional Manager of Public Affairs for International Paper Company, Manager of Corporate Affairs at Carolina Power & Light Company. He additionally worked as an associate in the Administrative and Regulatory practice of the McNair Law Firm in Columbia.

Personal life

Benjamin is married to The Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, a Judge in South Carolina's Fifth Judicial Circuit. Together they have two daughters.[8]

Recognition and awards

  • The Root's 100 Influential Black Americans (2011 & 2013)[9]
  • The Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official (2017) [10]


  1. ^ a b c "Dubious new distinction for Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin". Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ United States Conference of Mayors. "Congratulations to @SteveBenjaminSC, the 76th President of the United States Conference of Mayors!". Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Our History - SCDPPPS". Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Our Campaigns - SC Attorney General Race - Nov 05, 2002". Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Mayor Benjamin Awarded for Leadership During Thousand Year Flood". Retrieved 2018.
Political offices
Preceded by
Bob Coble
Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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