FILE - In this July 26, 2016, file photo, Columbia, S.C. Mayor Steve Benjamin speaks during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. As mayor of South Carolina's capital city, Benjamin is becoming a popular, and influential, figure in the Democratic presidential primary, as candidates bulk up their travel to the state that hosts the first southern primary contest. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Presidential campaign raises SC mayor's national profile

June 10, 2019 - 1:31 pm

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina is playing a visible role in many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates' visits to his state.

He ushers them to stages and helps them navigate the politics of the state, which is home of the first southern primary.

As president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and one of the most high-profile black politicians in South Carolina, Benjamin is becoming not only one of the state's most sought-after endorsements, but also a name mentioned for a potential slot in a Democratic administration.

In elected politics for nearly a decade, the 49-year-old lawyer became the first black mayor in Columbia's history in 2010 and easily won two more terms.