Candidate Filing Closes, Let the Fun Begin

March 30, 2012 2:31 PM
Candidate Filing Closes, Let the Fun Begin

Candidate filing for state and local offices closed at noon Friday with many more challengers to incumbents than Horry County has been used to in recent years.

However, the Independent Republic, known for its nasty political fights as well as zany winners and losers, is getting one up on anything I have ever seen before.

Dick Withington announced months ago that he would be a Republican candidate for the new 7th Congressional District seat. He is continuing in that endeavor, but, in case he doesn’t win that primary, Withington has decided to try for a primary trifecta. He is also filing as a Republican candidate for SC House District 106 and SC Senate District 34.

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SC House Conundrum

March 29, 2012 8:40 PM
SC House Conundrum

With less than a day to go for candidate filing for this year’s election races, the Horry County legislative delegation, especially house members, are in for quite a change.

Thad Viers resigned his seat recently due to his ongoing legal problems and George Hearn has decided not to seek re-election. Incumbents Nelson Hardwick and Liston Barfield will face challenges to re-election. A new House seat will be filled to essentially represent Carolina Forest in the General Assembly.

We are also told that there could be one more surprise, a kind of musical chairs, before filing closes at noon Friday.

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Bennett Drops 7th Congressional Thoughts.

March 28, 2012 4:18 PM
Bennett Drops 7th Congressional Thoughts.

Former Coastal Carolina University football coach David Bennett announced Wednesday afternoon that he would not be a candidate for the new S.C. 7th Congressional District seat. As the clock wound down toward zero hour for filing, all things did not fall in line for a Bennett candidacy.

Bennett said in a phone conversation this morning with Jeffery Sewell of SC Hotline that the whole family needed to be on board with the decision. Bennett said the talk was still ongoing, but his wife was holding out against running.

“My wife told me she believes my place is not in Washington politics,” Bennett said. “You’re a coach, not a congressman she told me.”

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Elliott Will Not Seek Re-election

March 24, 2012 1:12 PM
Elliott Will Not Seek Re-election

Citing health issues of both himself and his wife, Sen. Dick Elliott (D-Dist. 28) told the Horry County Democratic Party Convention today that he will not seek re-election to his seat in November.

The longest serving legislator in Horry County history, Elliott began his political career when he was elected to the North Myrtle Beach City Council in 1962, just a few years out of college and a new real estate business owner in North Myrtle Beach.

Elliott served four years on the North Myrtle Beach council. After a two year hiatus, he served as chair of the North Myrtle Beach School Board from 1968-71.

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Update: Gun Rights Debate, Big Gov at Worst

March 22, 2012 12:45 PM
Update: Gun Rights Debate, Big Gov at Worst

The Horry County Public Safety Committee debate tonight on restricting weapons discharges in the unincorporated areas of the county was an example of government at its worst. Two days after a proposed ordinance to restrict gun use was circulated throughout the county, the whole debate became a non-issue.

Sparked by complaints from homeowners of weapons being discharged in fairly populated sub-divisions in the unincorporated areas, such as Carolina Forest, several council members requested the issue to be debated by council. The concept was to look for ways to possibly address sub-division residents’ concerns without affecting the more rural western areas of the county.

Rather than a full council discussion, such as a Committee of the Whole meeting, the issue was put on the agenda of the Public Safety Committee. County attorney Arrigo Carotti reportedly took it upon himself to craft the ordinance for discussion purposes.

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Bennett into 7th Congressional District Race?

March 20, 2012 3:59 PM
Bennett into 7th Congressional District Race?

Word is making its way around Horry County that former Coastal Carolina University head football coach David Bennett is seriously considering a run for the new 7th Congressional District seat.

Bennett’s entry into the race could be a game changer in many ways for the already crowded field. A native of Cheraw, Bennett would have instant name recognition throughout the 7th district with strong personal ties in both the western part of the district as well as Horry and Georgetown counties in the east. Any political consultant will tell you that name recognition is the number one factor in a race that has numerous candidates.

Bennett has strong ties with all levels of Horry County voters. He also will probably benefit from a considerable sympathy vote due to the way he was ousted as CCU coach at the end of last season. Bennett’s ouster is considered a betrayal by the CCU leadership after 11 loyal and successful years at the Chanticleers helm.

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Prosser Addresses Energy Needs

4:30 AM
Prosser Addresses Energy Needs

The unseasonably warm winter in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand makes the wait for summer seem that much shorter. But with gas prices spiking, summer could mean less trips to the beach and fewer vacations for many American families.

As director of South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism for eight years, I closely monitored the impact of gas prices on visitor spending. Even when families are able to take their cherished summer beach vacation, the bite that higher gas prices takes from their wallets curtails spending on restaurants, attractions and souvenirs, and often shortens their trip.

In addition to the direct impact on tourism, higher gas prices also ripple through the economy increasing the costs for businesses, including our critical distribution centers in the area. These higher costs are passed through to cash-strapped consumers in the form of higher prices.

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South Carolina, High Risk for Government Corruption

March 19, 2012 4:36 AM
South Carolina, High Risk for Government Corruption

A nationwide analysis of state governments released over the weekend ranked South Carolina 45th out of the 50 states for potential for government corruption. This, of course, only enforces what those of us who cover government on a regular basis already know.

Citing government secrecy, little accountability for legislators and the executive branch, weak ethics enforcement and little disclosure of legislators’ finances, the state received an F in nine out of the 14 categories studied and a D- in a 10th category.

The only areas where South Carolina received adequate grades were procurement, redistricting, lobbying disclosure and internal auditing.

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Observations on the Bike Rally Vote

March 15, 2012 10:52 AM
Observations on the Bike Rally Vote

After the generally dysfunctional debate on bike rally vendor permits by Horry County Council Tuesday night, one veteran Horry County political observer commented to me that they believed the decision to again take on the bike rally issue, at the county level, was made in the “card room at the Dunes Club.”

I believe this comment is quite astute. It can be reasonably argued that the “Take Back May” movement, which resulted in the City of Myrtle Beach movement to end the May bike rallies was hatched at the Dunes Club. A small group of movers and shakers in the city saw the chance to take advantage of the public (above 38th Avenue North) unrest with the rallies, to advance personal agendas.

Tom Rice, then a private citizen, was the point spokesman for the “Take Back May” movement as the group lobbied both the Myrtle Beach and Horry County councils to essentially end the rallies. The effort was generally regarded successful at the city level, but a failure at the county level.

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Arrogance and Confusion, but a Victory for Bike Vendors

March 13, 2012 7:57 PM
Arrogance and Confusion, but a Victory for Bike Vendors

In what can only be called an arrogant abuse of parliamentary procedure, Horry County Council chairman Tom Rice called a five minute break, in the midst of debating an ordinance on the floor, because voting on amendments to the ordinance didn’t go his way.

This blatant lack of respect for the elected body he serves and abuse of power as chairman came during council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, but did not produce the result Rice hoped for.

The ordinance, of course, was about reducing the number of permit days for vendor and special event permits from the current seven days to five days. The ordinance, if passed as originally written, would have directly affected the Harley Davidson bike rally and the local small businesses that depend on it for revenue.

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