Loftis, Factor Cleared by AG

April 8, 2012 11:53 PM
Loftis, Factor Cleared by AG

For those of you who may have missed it over the Easter weekend, SC Attorney General Alan Wilson cleared state Treasurer Curtis Loftis and Mallory Factor of any wrongdoing in an alleged “pay to play” scheme involving the nearly $25 billion state retirement fund.

Loftis has been a critic of the management of the state’s pension fund for much of his 13 months as treasurer. On January 31, 2012, Loftis outlined problems associated with the pension fund during testimony to the Senate Finance Retirement Committee.

Among those problems, Loftis listed the $25 billion pension fund is underfunded by approximately $13 billion dollars (33%) in order to meet its future liabilities; full-time employees of the pension system have risen from three in 2006 to 23 currently; investment management fees have rocketed from $31 million in 2005 to $343 million 2011 and the fund has consistently underperformed with respect to similar pension funds in other states over the past five years.

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Afghanistan War Veteran Takes Fight to 7th Congressional District Race

April 7, 2012 5:57 AM
Afghanistan War Veteran Takes Fight to 7th Congressional District Race

Katherine Jenerette, a US Army Paratrooper and a former US Congressional Field Representative, who just returned home eleven weeks ago from a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan, announced her bid for the newly formed 7th District Congressional Seat.

“I’m not the kind of person who sits on the sidelines when there’s a fight going on and work to be done for the people of our state, district and our country,” Jenerette said. “I’ve been places where you have to do a lot more than talk tough and whoever the people of this district decide to send to Washington had better be ready to hit the ground running and know when it’s time to dance and when it’s time to play hardball.”

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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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