Post Tagged with: "Alan Clemmons"

Clemmons Resigns House Seat Triggering Special Primary Election for House District 107 – Updated

July 17, 2020 10:58 AM
Clemmons Resigns House Seat Triggering Special Primary Election for House District 107 – Updated

Update

The South Carolina Election Commission accepted Alan Clemmons’ affidavit that he resigned his House seat for non-political reasons. A special primary will be held to replace Clemmons on the November general election ballot.

Filing for the special primary will begin at noon July 28, 2020 and end at noon August 4, 2020. The special primary election will be held on August 18, 2020 in House District 107 voting precincts. There was no Democratic opposition for nomination to this seat in the regular primary elections but Democrats have the option of filing for a special primary election in the same filing period.

Five weeks after winning the Republican Primary nomination for House District 107, Alan Clemmons notified S. C. House Speaker Jay Lucas today he was resigning the seat he has held for nine terms.

In his resignation letter, Clemmons cited demands of his law practice and a desire to concentrate more time with his family as reasons for his resignation. The resignation triggers a special primary election for the House District 107 seat.

Clemmons must now submit an affidavit to the State Election Commission that his resignation is for non-political reasons, such as those stated above. When that affidavit is accepted by the election commission, notice of a special primary election will be given with the applicable dates for that event.

This reporter contacted Sandy Martin, Director of the Horry County Voters Registration and Election Office, for the possible time frame of the special election. According to Martin, if Clemmons’ affidavit is accepted by the state election commission on or before July 25, 2020, the filing period for the special primary election would be August 4 – 11, 2020. However those dates are subject to change based on the timing of the Clemmons affidavit.

Martin confirmed that the Clemmons’ resignation will trigger a special election. She said the notification of the dates for filing will be placed in the Sun News after she receives notification from the election commission that the affidavit has been accepted.

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Money for I-77, Where is Money for I-73?

June 18, 2020 8:15 PM
Money for I-77, Where is Money for I-73?

President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday June 18th about $34.6 million appropriated from the federal government for a new interchange on I-77 in Rock Hill.

Where is an appropriation for I-73?

Trump’s tweet again highlights the inability of our elected representatives, many of whom were reelected at last week’s primary, to get any funding for their supposed number one agenda item.

Tom Rice, Alan Clemmons, Heather Crawford, Luke Rankin, Russell Fry, Dennis Disabato, Cam Crawford, Gary Loftus, Johnny Vaught, Bill Howard, Tyler Servant, Brenda Bethune – aren’t you all embarrassed and ashamed of your continuing inability to secure any funding for I-73?

Over the past year, each and every one of you has spoken of the importance of I-73 to the local economy and to the safety of our citizens.

All this announcement does is demonstrate your political impotence, both individually and collectively, to deliver funding from any source other than Horry County for the project you list among your top priorities!

Five of the above, Clemmons, both Crawfords, Disabato and Loftus were victors in recent primaries, guaranteeing their reelection in November. Two others, Rice and Fry, had no primary opponent and will have a virtual walkover in November. Four, Vaught, Howard, Servant and Bethune, will face reelection over the next two years. The lone remaining incumbent, Rankin, faces a runoff election next week.

Whether it be money for I-73, flood mitigation, other infrastructure projects or other needs to help the citizens of Horry County, the ‘Dirty Dozen’ incumbents mentioned above can’t deliver.

Even the development industry, which spent tons of money helping the reelection of these people has to be let down at this announcement. After all, I-73 would net immediate revenue for some of those and it would open up considerable land in the western part of the county for development, even though much of it probably shouldn’t be developed due to flooding and infrastructure considerations.

Despite their continuing demonstrated inability to accomplish anything positive for the area, the voters chose to send those up for reelection last week back into office.

This announcement is just another example of why that was a bad idea.

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The Incumbent Campaign of Misinformation and Desperation

June 7, 2020 11:21 AM
The Incumbent Campaign of Misinformation and Desperation

Misinformation and desperation are seeping into incumbent campaigns as we move toward primary voting Tuesday.

We have seen the SCGOP ignore campaign finance and ethics regulations to send numerous mailers supporting the reelection of Alan Clemmons and Heather Crawford.

Why would the SCGOP feel the need to insert itself into the contests between Republican candidates?

Obviously the party leaders in Columbia are afraid of losing two representatives who will do exactly what they are told to do.

Doing what they are told to do in Columbia doesn’t help the constituents Clemmons and Crawford are supposed to serve in Horry County. That’s why the panic.

In the past several days Clemmons and Luke Rankin have posted individual pictures of themselves with President Trump. Those were photo ops taken when the president was in Horry County during the Hurricane Florence flooding.

Both reportedly talked up the Interstate 73 project to the president during that trip. If Clemmons and Rankin are as close to President Trump as they would like you to believe, where are the federal dollars to build the interstate?

In similar fashion, one of the SCGOP mailers for Crawford and Clemmons touted an endorsement of them by the governor. Again, if they are so close to the governor and the legislative leaders in Columbia, for that matter, where are the state dollars to build I-73?

Clemmons has consistently stated I-73 is his number one priority as a legislator. Yet, year after year, no money comes from the state for the project.

Meanwhile Clemmons represents a declining Myrtle Beach that he appears to ignore as the number of empty commercial buildings in the city continues to rise every year.

One of the SCGOP mailers for Crawford attempted to present her as ‘working hard’ to solve the flooding problems in her district. She has done nothing other than clean out some ditches to help the citizens devastated by repeated flooding events since 2016 nor to mitigate future flooding. Again, no state grants have been forthcoming to help these needed initiatives.

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Final Campaign Week Messaging and Oddities, Voters Beware

June 3, 2020 10:02 AM
Final Campaign Week Messaging and Oddities, Voters Beware

We are in the final week of campaigning before the June 9th primary elections and we are seeing all the oddities and sound bite messaging that come with a final week push.

Cam and Heather Crawford are attempting to use endorsements by Gov. Henry McMaster and the Chairman of the Governor’s Floodwater Commission to prove to voters that they should be reelected.

This pair loves endorsements. However, they didn’t work for their prize candidate former Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus two years ago. The Lazarus campaign trumpeted endorsements by many sitting politicians but the voters weren’t fooled. They understood this is just a ploy used by the establishment to attempt to keep its minions in office. Which brings up the question, why is the SCGOP paying for so many mailers for Heather Crawford?

The Crawfords are bragging about getting ditches cleaned and attempting to get local governments to increase their debt obligations with a so-called ‘buyout program.’ If they were really effective, Heather would have been able to get state grant money, not loans, available for a buyout program. After all, the state had a 2 billion revenue surplus last year.

For that matter, they would have been able to get significant state funding for the Interstate 73 project they love to promote. That hasn’t been accomplished either.

When you look at their supposed list of accomplishments, it is obvious that the rhetoric is high but the performance is low.

Their most significant accomplishment, if you wish to call it that, is picking a fight with Horry County Rising, a citizens group with many members who are flood victims and who is actually trying to address flooding issues and mitigation.

If the Crawfords were really trying to help, they would attempt to work with this group, but that would take away from the photo ops and attempts to be center stage, which the Crawfords believe will fool the voters.

Another interesting quirk in campaigning comes from county council candidate Terry Fowler. From the beginning of his campaign, Fowler has made rash statements that after June 9th new home building in District 9 will stop. He has tried to paint several competitors as lackeys of the development industry because they are realtors.

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Weighing the Truth of Clemmons and Crawford Campaign Flyers

May 23, 2020 4:30 PM
Weighing the Truth of Clemmons and Crawford Campaign Flyers

The truth of explanations for the campaign flyers sent out supporting the candidacies of Alan Clemmons and Heather Ammons Crawford, marked “Paid for by the SCGOP” and “authorized by” the respective candidates, in the races for SC House District 107 and SC House District 68 respectively, have been “weighed on the scales and found wanting”, as the Book of Daniel would say.

There have been three mailers each supporting Clemmons and Crawford marked “Paid for by the SCGOP” and “authorized by” the respective candidate. There must have been some polling showing both Clemmons and Crawford trailing their challengers for the SCGOP to take such blatant, biased actions in a primary election.

The Horry County Republican Party Bylaws specifically prohibit such action by party officials, ” Bylaws Section 1-A. Elected and appointed officials of the Horry County Republican party shall not endorse, work for, assist, or allow their name to be used in support of a Republican candidate who has opposition from another Republican candidate during a Primary or Run-off election.”

There is a very good reason for this prohibition. Primary elections are run by the parties. If an election challenge is made, it is heard by the Executive Committee of either the local or state party, depending on what office is involved.

In the case of Clemmons and Crawford, if the results of their elections are challenged, the challenge must, by law, be heard by the SCGOP Executive Committee, the same group that would have had to approve the sending of the mailers. How could there possibly be an impartial judgement from that committee considering they have already chosen their preferred winner?

I contacted the state party by email over two weeks ago asking why the SCGOP was involving itself in primary elections and who approved sending the mailers. To date, I have received no response.

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Clemmons Explanation of Payments to Crawford Raises More Questions

May 3, 2020 3:29 AM
Clemmons Explanation of Payments to Crawford Raises More Questions

It took a week before Alan Clemmons issued a public explanation of his nearly $150,000 total payments to Heather Ammons Crawford from his campaign account in the years 2008-2012 inclusive.

The Clemmons statement came in the form of a letter to the editor of FitsNews.com, a Columbia online political outlet.

The second paragraph in the letter is the key to Clemmons’ explanation of his hiring Crawford as a contract employee. It is quoted below in full:

“Prior to Heather’s election and having been seated in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2013, Heather was a full-time contract employee in my local district office.  She served in that role from 2008 through 2012. When hired, her salary was $2,000 per month and was later increased to $2,500 per month. Heather consulted and advised me regarding campaign and election matters, managed my district office, handled officeholder account bookkeeping and filed my public reports. The bulk of her full-time focus was, however, assisting me in serving the needs of my constituents. Heather kept regular hours in the district office, housed at no cost to the taxpayer or my supporters on the premises of my law firm.”

Clemmons went on to say he takes constituent service very seriously, hence the position for Crawford.

According to Clemmons’ campaign disclosure filings, he hired Crawford in April 2008 for the sum of $2,000 per month plus expenses. That amount was increased to $2,500 per month plus expenses beginning May 2009 and running at that rate through December 2012. All payments to Crawford were made from Clemmons’ campaign account.

As a state representative, Clemmons spends approximately three days per week, five months per year in Columbia for legislative sessions. He is paid $10,400 per year salary, $12,000 per year ($1,000 per month) for In District Expenses, subsistence for hotel and meals while attending legislative sessions, mileage to and from Columbia and some additional expense reimbursements as appropriate.

As a state representative from Horry County, he has access to the services of the two employees of the county legislative delegation office in Conway (paid for from county council general fund). These aides are employed to take phone calls, handle correspondence, and provide additional support, as needed, for the members of the Horry County Legislative Delegation.

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Clemmons, Crawford, Crawford, Parker You Got Some ‘Splaining to do

April 28, 2020 6:44 AM
Clemmons, Crawford, Crawford, Parker You Got Some ‘Splaining to do

Campaign funds and the lax laws controlling them allow politicians the ability to do almost anything they want with donations they receive.

But, the donors and the voters have a right to know exactly what is being done with campaign funds just as they do with public money. How, why and to whom is it paid? What goal toward being elected or reelected is achieved by its expenditure?

This is why nearly $150,000 over a four year span from Rep. Alan Clemmons’ campaign fund to now Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford (she was only a SC House member for the final $2,250 of that amount) listed as contract and/or campaign services leaves many questions.

Clemmons had no opponent in either a primary or general election in 2008, 2010 and 2012 election cycles. Yet, Crawford was paid an average of $37,500 per year for four years from Clemmons’ campaign account.

The voters deserve to know exactly what work did Clemmons pay Heather Crawford for? Was it all associated with political functions?

Heather Ammons Crawford, her husband and current Horry County District 6 council member Cam Crawford and SC Rep. Russell Fry have a political consulting business called Crescent Communications.

By way of comparison to the Clemmons payments to Heather Crawford, three campaigns run by the firm for former Horry County Council chairman Mark Lazarus provide stark contrasts.

Crescent Communications provided consulting services for three Lazarus campaigns, a special election in 2013 and regular election in 2014 and 2018. In those three campaigns, Lazarus spent a total of approximately $300,000 from his campaign account, all for election purposes. Approximately $41,000 was the total sum paid to Crescent Communications for those three campaign cycles.

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Alan Clemmons Campaign Account, Big Expenses No Opponents

April 24, 2020 5:11 AM
Alan Clemmons Campaign Account, Big Expenses No Opponents

Rep. Alan Clemmons campaign website has a link for visitors to make contributions to his campaign.

This is something most candidates do in an effort to help fund the costs of campaigning.

In the case of Clemmons campaign chest, one must ask what is this money used for?

A review of Clemmons’ campaign fund quarterly filings from the years 2008 – 2018 inclusive show that Clemmons raised a total of $460,409.23 in campaign donations. He had $231,224.62 on hand in his campaign account at the beginning of 2008, according to the records.

Over the same span, 2008 – 2018, Clemmons spent a total of $480,912.51 from his campaign funds. The 2008 – 2018 time frame includes six election cycles, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, in which Clemmons was a candidate for he S. C. House. He was first elected in 2002, but records for his first three campaigns are not available online.

Raising and spending campaign contributions for election is what all candidates do.

However, in the six election cycles covered by these records, CLEMMONS HAD NO OPPOSITION!

He had no opponent in the primaries and no opponent in the general elections.

It must be asked, how and why does an elected official spend over $480,000 in six elections cycles, an average of $80,000 every two year election cycle, when he has no opposition in any of the races? You can’t make this stuff up, it’s too outrageous!

Part of the answer is in the globe-trotting Clemmons has paid for out of his campaign funds, including several trips to Israel and one to Egypt. He also paid for numerous trips around the United States out of the campaign account.

One interesting item in the Clemmons’ records is that between April 2008 and December 2012, Clemmons paid Heather Ammons Crawford a total of $146,830.69 out of his campaign account. He paid Crawford $2,000 per month from April 2008 thru April 2009 for “campaign” and/or “contract services” From May 2009 thru December 2012 Clemmons paid Crawford $2,500 per month for those services. There were also monthly payments to Crawford listed as expenses.

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Citizens or Special Interests – County Council Direction Will be Decided by June Primaries

April 20, 2020 7:33 AM
Citizens or Special Interests – County Council Direction Will be Decided by June Primaries

The direction county council will take over the next several years will likely be determined by three contested races in the Republican Primary to be held on June 9, 2020.

Those three races are Horry County Districts 3, 4 and 6, currently held by incumbents Dennis DiSabato, Gary Loftus and Cam Crawford, respectively. Those three council members have consistently been stooges for the special interests in the county.

DiSabato, Loftus and Crawford were consistent “yes” votes for any initiative former council chairman Mark Lazarus brought to the table. The purchase of approximately 3,700 acres of wetlands off of International for $12 million of taxpayer money is one example that quickly comes to mind.

The parcel purchased by the county was part of a larger parcel purchased by a developer in Virginia years ago. The wetlands couldn’t be developed so the county purchased the land with the purported goal of establishing a wetland mitigation bank to be used when capital projects required mitigation credits for disturbing wetlands. No other parcel in the county was considered, no record of a request for proposals was sent out by the county.

The three stooges voted in lockstep to spend county money for land that was basically useless to the developer for the price of approximately $3,243 per acre.

After Lazarus was defeated for reelection, DiSabato, Crawford and Loftus were charter members for what I dubbed the Deep Six, council members who fought long and hard to keep former county administrator Chris Eldridge in office after Eldridge and county attorney Arrigo Carotti lodged groundless accusations of extortion against current chairman Johnny Gardner, who defeated Lazarus, Eldridge’s strongest supporter on council.

Anyone who watched the March 2019 special council meeting, called to remove Eldridge, will recall DiSabato launching into accusations against Gardner after an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) concluded the accusations were without any merit.

The three stooges voted not to fire Eldridge in March, ultimately costing the taxpayers of Horry County $350,000 when council voted to buy out Eldridge’s contract in April 2019 rather than firing him one month before.

DiSabato, Crawford and Loftus have been consistent supporters of having county taxpayers fund construction of Interstate 73. Constructing I-73 remains a major goal of special interests in the county who will benefit financially from construction of the road.

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Voters’ Primary Choice – Representative Democracy or Oligarchy

April 15, 2020 7:09 AM
Voters’ Primary Choice – Representative Democracy or Oligarchy

Horry County voters will have distinct choices in a number of local and state primary races this year as challenges to incumbents continue to rise.

Those choices simply put are a decision by voters on whether they support candidates who represent the needs of the citizens or candidates who represent the oligarchy who wish to continue to control government for their own self-interest.

Eight weeks remain until primary election day for voters to make their choices.

For the past few weeks there has been talk that the primaries would be postponed until later in the summer. This does not appear to be the case as the majority of the General Assembly members believe holding the primaries in June will give them an advantage in the primaries as incumbents.

Last week, the General Assembly added an additional $15 million to the state contingency fund to help make voting “safer” for voters. So, it looks certain that June 9th is the date to vote in the primaries.

Campaigning directly with voters will be difficult as long as the current coronavirus restrictions remain in place. It will be important for voters to watch what is posted in social media and weigh the information being presented.

In general, it is my opinion that the candidates who will best represent voters against the fading but still influential power structure in the county are challengers, not incumbents. Not in every case, because a few incumbents have served the best interests of the county citizens, but in most cases.

Several S. C. House primaries come quickly to mind to illustrate the above points.

Case Brittain will provide a formidable challenge to 18 year incumbent Alan Clemmons in S. C. House District 107.

Clemmons is one of the elected officials the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce can always count on to do its bidding. There has been no louder voice than Clemmons for Interstate 73, a project that is years off and will immediately benefit only some of his donors in the local area. Then we have Clemmons’ many trips to the Middle East, funded by his campaign chest.

Brittain is a Horry County native and local attorney. He is tired of seeing Horry County be a donor county to other areas of the state, always an afterthought when it comes to state funding for schools, roads and the like. He wants to put the “Grand” back into the Grand Strand. It would be nice to have a representative from Myrtle Beach who worries more about the citizens in his district than the current one who spends more time with citizens of Israel and Egypt than those at home.

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