Columbia City Council Race: Duvall, Middleton prepare for Tuesday’s run-off election

Duvall only came away with 44% of the vote, while Middleton secured 36% two weeks ago
Sara Middleton (left) and Howard Duvall are going head-to-head in a runoff election for an At-Large seat in the Columbia City Council. The run-off will take place on Tuesday, November 19.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —Election Day may have been nearly two weeks ago, but two candidates are still chasing the final at-large spot on the Columbia City Council.

Local attorney and businesswoman Sara Middleton is going up against incumbent Howard Duvall in a run-off election set to take place Tuesday, November 19.

Two weeks ago, Duvall collected 44% of the vote, while Middleton took home 35%, which set up Tuesday’s run-off. Dylan Gunnels and Amadeo Geere combined for the final 20% of the votes. Since no candidate had a clear majority, both Duvall and Middleton have to go to a run-off.

Both candidates have differing views on several issue, one of which is Duvall’s proposal to take money out of the city’s water and sewage coffers to increase funding for the city’s police and fire departments. 

“If you take a transfer out of water and sewer, and I would put it in a special fund that would only be used for public safety, it means that people that are paying 100% of the taxes now, would only pay 10%,” Duvall said, referring to his proposal to increase available dollars used towards public safety.

“I believe all of our water and sewage funding from taxes have to go 100% to our water and sewage infrastructure for repair and maintenance. We know that we have a severe water and infrastructure problem, and the fact that we’re talking about taking money out of that budget to put it towards something else, I think is something everyone in this city understands is a terrible idea,” Middleton said, saying that recent issues with Heathwood and Trenholm Road reiterate why all those dollars should stay with those departments.

Middleton says encouraging more businesses to come and invest in Columbia is one way to gain more money that could go towards public safety, while Duvall says gaining tax revenue from non-taxable entities, like the state and federal governments, alleviates the burden on the city’s taxpayers.

Either way, both candidates recognize that they could play a major role in shaping the city’s future.

“I could do a lot more if elected to another four year term. I promise this will be my last term, and I would like to serve the people of the City of Columbia,” Duvall said.

“We are at a tipping point of ‘are we at the dawn, or are we at the dusk?’ And I think I am on a mission, I don’t think, I know, that I’m on a mission to ensure that Columbia is at the dawn,” Middleton said.

Polls for Tuesday’s run-off election will open at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19.

No run-off’s were needed to determine the winner of the two other City Council seats up for election this year. Incumbent Ed McDowell secured victory in District 2, while Will Brennan defeated incumbent Moe Baddourah and challenger John Loveday in District 3.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Hear what the two candidates have to say about other issues, like the city’s new vaping ordinance, Bull Street development, and what drives their campaigns

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