Post Tagged with: "Republican Primary"

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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Absurdities of Candidates Coming to the Fore as Primaries Loom

May 28, 2020 8:21 AM
Absurdities of Candidates Coming to the Fore as Primaries Loom

It’s less than two weeks until polling day for the June 9th primary elections and silly season is shifting into the absurd.

There is one candidate who seems less interested in being elected than in spinning crazy conspiracy theories to the voters with her posts. Several of the theories follow the same general lines as the conspiracy Chris Eldridge and Arrigo Carotti attempted to spin on Johnny Gardner just before he took office.

Regardless of the reason or the content of the videos, spinning conspiracy theories and talking trash about politicians and their consultants is not the way to win an election.

The race for Horry County Auditor also had some interesting developments this week.

Clark Parker, who announced his candidacy last August and spent over $35,000 from his campaign account by early January, has been rarely heard from since. Except for a few signs being put out and a couple of posts on his election Facebook page, little has been heard.

Parker was rumored to be suffering from some health problems in March and maybe that is the reason for so little activity.

However, a post went up on Parker’s Facebook yesterday that boggles the mind. The post urged voters to vote in the June 2nd Republican Primary. The main difficulty with that statement is that primary voting at the polls is June 9th.

I really don’t believe this was an attempt at voter suppression, which would be a serious legal problem. I believe it demonstrates a candidate who is so out of touch he doesn’t even know enough about the election to know the correct date. If he could screw up the date of the election, what could he mess up as auditor? Correct dates are very important in preparing tax bills.

This is another example of the Parker campaign being out of touch. Signs were put out by the campaign last fall even though the county limits the time political signs can be placed to 45 days before the election. The Parker campaign has demonstrated a serious deficiency in comprehending dates in the election cycle among other things.

Another auditor candidate and long-time employee of the auditor’s office, Beth Calhoun, was running what seemed to be a good campaign until recently. In her most recent video, Calhoun appears to take a shot at current auditor Lois Eargle by mentioning it’s important to come into the office every day.

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Uneasy Lie the Heads that Wear Incumbency – First Week of Candidate Filing

March 24, 2020 7:15 AM
Uneasy Lie the Heads that Wear Incumbency – First Week of Candidate Filing

The coronavirus has not stopped this year’s candidate filing in Horry County from being the most active filing period in the county for many years.

Grand Strand Daily is tracking 22 local races for county offices or local representatives or senators to the General Assembly.

After the first week of filing, which ended yesterday, there are currently 13 contested races of the 22 being tracked and at least two more county council candidates will probably have opposition before filing closes next Monday. If the expected two challengers file in council districts 3 and 4, all five county council seats up for election in this cycle will be contested and all will be Republican primary contests.

One incumbent council member, Paul Prince in District 9, is retiring and four candidates, including Prince’s son, are contesting the Republican primary for that seat. The other four incumbent council members up for reelection are Cam Crawford and Danny Hardee, who already have opponents filed to challenge them and Dennis DiSabato and Gary Loftus, who are expected to have opponents by the end of filing.

The main reason county council is drawing so much attention is a feeling among voters that incumbent council members are only listening to the development community that funds their campaigns and voters’ concerns about flooding and rapid development are being ignored. (See the image at the end of this post, which has been making its way around Facebook, with the heads of the four incumbents inserted).

On the state level, voters are tired of being donors to the rest of the state while road and flooding problems in particular are not being addressed and most incumbents are content with sound bites and photo ops rather than trying to address solutions.

Four incumbents who, I believe, will face particularly serious challenges are state Reps. Alan Clemmons and Heather Ammons Crawford, Sen. Luke Rankin and county council member Cam Crawford. They are being opposed by Case Brittain, Mark Epps, John Gallman and Jeremy Halpin, respectively.

If the expected challengers emerge against DiSabato and Loftus, those races will be hotly contested also.

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Candidate Filing One Week Away, Silly Season Has Already Begun

March 9, 2020 6:09 AM
Candidate Filing One Week Away, Silly Season Has Already Begun

Filing for elective office in the county is one week away which will begin what can only be called the “silly season” when facts are few and far between.

However, in one race, the one for a new county Auditor, “silly season” began last August when local CPA Clark Parker announced his candidacy for the position of Auditor and his various pronouncements and posts since.

When Parker announced his campaign last August, he said he could “contribute a lot to the needs of the county” and that “it is important that we collect all our taxes that are due to the county.”

Shortly after his announcement, local media reported Parker was delinquent in paying personal property taxes for tax years 2012, 2017 and 2018. Those delinquent taxes were paid by Parker after the information became public.

Parker was reportedly taking campaign advice from a group of advisors. One or more of those convinced Parker to begin placing campaign yard signs. County ordinance forbids such campaign signs from being placed until 45 days before election voting. Election voting for the Republican primary is June 9, 2020. Signs cannot be placed until near the end of next month, but Parkers were out last fall.

A Facebook post encouraged supporters to take a picture with one of the signs. The best picture was supposed to be rewarded with free dinner for two at Rioz Brazilian steakhouse.

One of Parker’s campaign operatives, Johnny Fryar, was a guest on Talking Politics, hosted by John Bonsignor and myself. I notified Fryar of the illegal timing of the signs. He tried to argue the point with no knowledge of the ordinance. Sometime after the show, the campaign signs were removed.

Since that time, other Facebook posts on Parker’s campaign page have called him the “technology candidate” even though he does not understand what technology the county has and does not understand that county technology is not controlled by the Auditor.

He has also called himself the “2nd Amendment candidate” although I haven’t the slightest clue what the right to bear arms has to do with an office that prepares tax bills for the county. Nor does Parker.

This is a campaign with no message other than throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks with voters.

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Parker Campaign Stumbles Out of the Gate with Unpaid Taxes and Media Comments – Updated

August 18, 2019 11:36 AM
Parker Campaign Stumbles Out of the Gate with Unpaid Taxes and Media Comments – Updated

Update

Horry County records show Clark Parker paid the three unpaid tax bills referred to below on August 19, 2019.

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Like a racehorse losing a race by stumbling out of the starting gate in his first steps, we may have witnessed the beginning and effective end of the Clark Parker campaign for Horry County Auditor on the day it began.

Parker had his campaign kickoff last Friday. It began with an interview published on the MyHorryNews.com website.

In that interview, Parker said he felt that he could “contribute a lot to the needs of the county” and that it was “important that we collect all our taxes that are due to the county.”

Shortly thereafter it was reported by MyrtleBeachSC.com that Parker had three unpaid county tax bills from tax years 2012, 2017 and 2018. That information is public information available on the horrycounty.org website.

One would expect someone running for public office, especially an office that deals with county taxes and a person who is a certified public accountant by trade, would double check to make sure there are no skeletons in their closet.

There are additional problems with the interview. Parker announced he is running for auditor yet it is the treasurer, not the auditor, who is responsible for collecting taxes. He wouldn’t be involved in that end of the county tax structure so why mention it in an interview?

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Richardson Rolls To GOP Nomination

July 18, 2018 7:16 AM
Richardson Rolls To GOP Nomination

Ken Richardson was the heavy favorite of voters Tuesday as he captured 71 percent of the vote in the Republican primary special election for Horry County School Board Chairman.

Incumbent school board member Janice Morreale gathered 20 percent of the vote to finish a distant second with former Patricia Milley completing the field at 9 percent.

Richardson will face political newcomer Democrat Heather Johnson in the November general election.

Richardson’s campaign centered on safety in the schools, transparency of board decisions and strict oversight of the school district budget.

The Richardson victory continues a recent trend of incumbents with serious opposition in the primaries falling by the wayside.

Last month challenger Johnny Gardner bested incumbent Mark Lazarus for the Republican nomination for Horry County Council Chairman and William Bailey defeated incumbent Greg Duckworth for the GOP nomination for  SC House District 104. The Richardson victory completed the Trifecta Tuesday night.

What is particularly interesting is all three incumbents had significant help from other incumbents during the primary campaigns.

Lazarus had the endorsement of at least 10 of his 11 fellow county council members as well as endorsements from the coastal mayors and members of the county legislative delegation. State legislators Heather Ammons Crawford and Russell Fry ran the Lazarus campaign.

Duckworth had the active support of fellow legislators Alan Clemmons, Greg Hembree, Fry and Ammons Crawford, as well as North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, contacting voters to push Duckworth reelection.

Morreale, the current school board member for District 5, had a group of her fellow school board incumbents actively contacting voters to push her candidacy.

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School Board Needs Strong Leader, Richardson is the Answer

July 15, 2018 9:10 AM
School Board Needs Strong Leader, Richardson is the Answer

When Horry County voters go to the polls Tuesday July 17th to elect the Republican nominee for School Board Chairman, they should only have one consideration in mind – who is the strongest leader among the candidates.

Approximately 20 years ago, the Horry County School Board ceded much of the control of policy making to then Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait. Since then, successive boards have allowed this policy to continue with only a very few minor changes.

The board basically identifies general objectives or goals, but the superintendent is allowed to make policy to achieve those ends. The board does some monitoring of the superintendent, but is at the mercy of the information that is shared with it.

What this means is the school board members the public elects to supposedly set policy have become little more than figureheads controlled by the superintendent and staff.

When new school board members are elected, they are given a class by staff on what they can and can’t do under this type of governance system.

Think about that for a minute. School board members are told by staff what they can and can’t do rather than the other way around. Makes one wonder why we need a school board at all and certainly question why school board members voted themselves a 66% pay raise last year.

It is past time to elect a school board chairman who is a strong leader willing to make the changes necessary to the current district governance model to put the school board back in the position of making district policy, especially in areas of budget and oversight of operations and facilities.

I believe Ken Richardson is that candidate.

Richardson worked for 40 years in a very successful Fowler Motors, the last 14 years as owner of the business. He has served for over 20 years as a member of the Horry Georgetown Technical College Area Commission, including 15 years as Chairman and now Chairman Emeritus.

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School Board Chairman Primary Nears

July 7, 2018 5:04 AM
School Board Chairman Primary Nears

Ten days remain before voting takes place in the special primary election for the Republican nomination for Horry County School Board Chairman.

With statewide primary elections last month, the special election has stayed below the radar of many voters. However, the Horry County School Board annual budget is approximately $750 million. No locally elected government agency in Horry County is responsible for spending more taxpayer dollars each year.

Tuesday July 17, 2018 is the date voters will choose between three candidates for the Republican nomination.

The candidates bring an interesting mix of issues to the race.

Retired teacher Patricia Milley is concerned about the mental health of local students, an issue she said she first brought before the Horry County School Board in 1996. Milley claims one in four Horry County students suffer from mental health issues due to school days being too long, school curricula being too hard and nights too short to recover.

Milley proposes less instruction time per school day, more recess periods in the day and changes to easier curricula in the schools. She proposes 11 separate pieces of legislation that must be passed by the South Carolina General Assembly to institute her recommended changes.

Janice Morreale is the current school board member for Horry County District 5. She was first elected to that seat in 2012 with a campaign slogan of ‘Back to the Basics.’ Her signs for the special election chairman race are carrying the same slogan.

Morreale has been a solid school board member during the five and one-half years she has served District 5. However, 2018 has not been a great election year for incumbents facing opposition. While there is no incumbent in the special election for board chairman, Morreale is one of six incumbent board members who voted for a large salary increase for themselves last year. The salary increase issue already cost one board incumbent the nomination for District 6 in last month’s primaries.

Ken Richardson is the third candidate in the special Republican primary election. He is a Horry County native and longtime business man and former owner of Fowler Motors. Richardson has been a member of the Horry Georgetown Technical College Area Commission for 20 years, the past 15 as chairman of that body.

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Election Change Is In the Air

June 24, 2018 9:39 AM
Election Change Is In the Air

(Ed. Note – The picture with this story is of a Facebook Post by Heather Ammons Crawford, which started the entire “Union Thugs” commentary in the closing days of the Lazarus campaign.)

Defeating an incumbent politician used to be a most difficult undertaking in South Carolina politics. Now it’s almost becoming the norm in Horry County.

Two out of three incumbents on the ballot lost in Myrtle Beach last fall. An incumbent fell to a write-in candidate in Surfside Beach earlier this year.

The latest round of primaries on June 12th saw a state legislator and a long-time school board member go down to opposition. Bill Howard was able to just hold off challenger Dean Pappas in the only contested Republican primary that went to an incumbent. The irony of that race is that newly elected Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune came out late for Pappas and her endorsement may have hurt Pappas in the final days because Bethune has quickly sided with what is considered the establishment in Myrtle Beach even though she was a candidate for “change” in the fall.

Challenger William Bailey took out incumbent Greg Duckworth in the Republican primary for S.C. House District 104. Challenger Helen Smith defeated incumbent Pam Timms in the Horry County School Board District 6 Republican primary. Smith is a former school board chairman in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, but probably half of today’s registered voters weren’t living in the county when she last left office so she qualifies as a change candidate.

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Recount Confirms Gardner Win, Lazarus Concedes

June 17, 2018 7:01 AM
Recount Confirms Gardner Win, Lazarus Concedes

Five days after winning the election for the Republican nomination for Horry County Council Chairman, Johnny Gardner was “recertified” as the winner over incumbent Mark Lazarus by the Horry County Election Commission.

After the S.C. Election Commission approved an audit of the final tally of the votes, the certified result of the election was announced at 11:41 a.m. Saturday June 16, 2018, as Gardner 12,426, Lazarus 12,313, a margin of 113 votes.

The count also included the race for House District 104 where William Bailey received 2,312 votes to 2,295 votes for incumbent House member Greg Duckworth.

Shortly after a mandatory recount confirmed both results, Lazarus called Gardner to concede the election. Gardner said Lazarus was very professional and gracious with his words when he conceded.

Gardner was initially certified as the winner two days ago with an automatic recount scheduled for the next day. When people returned for the recount, they were told that another 209 votes had been found in machines from the Ocean Forest 2 precinct.

This announcement began one and one-half days of confusion, bordering at times on chaos, before the local election commission received approval of an audit of the votes from the state election commission.

During the interval, James Wiles, who told commissioners he was “representing the Lazarus campaign”, gave the members a sheet of paper which he called a “Freedom of Information request” and said the campaign objected to recertification of the results.

“I am prepared to start discovery to see if there should be a protest,” Wiles added.

According to all the information I could find on Wiles, he was suspended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association in 2005 and is not a member of the South Carolina Bar Association. He can certainly act as a private citizen representing himself before the election commission, but what status he had “representing the Lazarus campaign” and “prepared to start discovery” is open to question.

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