Peter Brown wins special election to fill Columbia City Council spot

Peter Brown, a local businessman, will join the Columbia City Council, filling the seat previously held by Joe Taylor. District 4 residents voted in a special election Tuesday to fill the vacant seat.

Brown received 1,967 votes while opponent Beatrice King received 1,464 votes, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.

“Thank you Columbia! Thank you for supporting my campaign, thank you for believing in me—I will not let you down,” Brown wrote on Facebook Tuesday night. “Tomorrow morning I’m going to get to work. I’m looking forward to working with everyone in our city to make Columbia the best that it can be. We can do better, and we will do better.”

Brown grew up in Columbia, left to attend the University of Notre Dame, and then returned and later relaunched his family’s business. He runs Colite, a professional signage company based in Columbia that has worked with the likes of Amazon, Visa, Microsoft and more. Brown is also a former chairman of the S.C. Jobs and Economic Development Authority.

Brown has said reforming Columbia’s tax structure and eliminating regulations around development is a top priority of his. Improving public safety and addressing quality of life issues, like potholes and litter, are also on Brown’s list, he previously told The State.

King conceded with a prepared statement Tuesday.

“A few minutes ago, I called to congratulate Peter on his win. While the outcome was not what I hoped, I accept the results of the election and trust that our elections are always free and fair,” King’s statement read. “I have absolutely loved walking the neighborhoods of Columbia over the past 10 weeks, knocking on doors, meeting neighbors, listening to their stories and sharing ideas. I could not be prouder of our campaign. We built a broad coalition of support from people who, like me, believe Columbia is the best place to live, learn, work, and play. I am optimistic about the future of Columbia, and wish Peter and his family all the best.”

King has lived in Columbia for 30 years and served on the Richland 1 school board for a decade. She worked in corporate jobs in Paris and South Carolina for more than a decade before putting her career on hold to raise her children, and she also graduated from USC’s Master’s of International Business program.

Brown will serve the remainder of Taylor’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2025.

Taylor, a well-known Columbia businessman and former state commerce secretary, died unexpectedly in late December, just after Christmas. He was 64 years old. Taylor was elected to Columbia City Council in 2021 as the representative for the city’s eastern District 4.

This is a breaking story and may be updated