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      Mayoral candidate Sypolt ends campaign, endorses Benjamin

      <font size="2">Mayoral candidate Larry Sypolt ended his candidacy for mayor and endorsed Mayor Steve Benjamin who's running for re-election.</font>

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - Mayoral candidate Larry Sypolt ended his candidacy for mayor and endorsed Mayor Steve Benjamin who's running for re-election.

      Sypolt, a former law enforcement agent with the FBI, lagged far behind the mayor in fundraising and support. Sypolt was running against the incumbent Benjamin and current city councilman Moe Baddourah.

      Moe Baddourah sent us the following statement, "Mr. Sypolt is a good man with a bright future, and I certainly wish him the best. But the Mayor's choice of the police station for the news conference was bad optics in a city that hasn't had a police hief in six months.

      "It sends the wrong message about our priorities to hold a campaign press conference at the police department while failing to address our very basic public safety challenges. "I'd like to use this opportunity to repeat my position that we must make the hiring of a permanent police chief our highest priority. If we don't, we're failing our citizens."

      Sypolt will now sit on a special safety committee for city government.

      WACH Fox news reporter Rob Starkey is working the story and will have more details throughout the afternoon.