Joe Azar has run for mayor of Columbia a lot of times.
He doesn’t know how many. (“You in the media know better than I do,” he says. “Everyone tells me how many times I’ve run; I say the past is the past. I’m not trying to win some kind of ‘Who’s run the most’ lottery.)
Free Times couldn’t figure out how many times he’s run, either, but we did dig up a city election preview from our April 1, 1998 issue in which we described him as a perennial candidate.
This year, though, Azar has decided not to run. He says he has other things to do. He’s been elected president of the Columbia Sertoma Club, he says, and business at Upstairs Audio is going well.
He’s not going to endorse someone for mayor — not exactly.
“I am unendorsing [Steve] Benjamin,” he says. “I am Anybody But Benjamin. ABB.”
He says he’s willing to help out both Larry Sypolt and Moe Baddourah, Benjamin’s two opponents.
The City of Columbia has posted election results back to 2002 online — and in 2002, we found, Azar drew 14 percent of the mayoral vote, with Mayor Bob Coble drawing 82 percent and William Gidwell drawing 4 percent. Azar's numbers plummeted in 2006 and 2010, though, as the mayoral field grew.
In 2012 Azar challenged Cameron Runyan and Robert Bolchoz in the at-large city council race, garnering 8 percent of the vote.
$7 Special Summer Menu at Tony’s Downtown
Stop in and try our special $7 summer menu (tax and drink included!) at Tony’s Pizza & Italian Eatery, downtown Columbia. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2.
Make your own beer and wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop, 736 St. Andrews Road. Click to find out how!
Trustus Theatre Presents Evil Dead, The Musical
This musical version of Sam Raimi’s cult classic films promises to serve up more humor than horror. You can read more and purchase your tickets here.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
The Castle Summer Camps
Clown Camp: Ages 7-12. Week of July 28 • Zombie Camp: Ages 10-15. Week of August 4. $125 per camp, discounts for siblings! 2076 Hwy Church Rd. 803-309-5586. TheEventCastle@yahoo.com
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18: