By Paul Gable
Myrtle Beach city councilman Randal Wallace has become the “little engine that could” among Republican candidates for the 7th Congressional District nomination.
Although he trails significantly in money raising, normally the “mother’s milk” of politics, Wallace has been polling respectably among the more, supposedly, high flying candidates in the race – Andre Bauer, Chad Prosser, Jay Jordan and Tom Rice.
A personable individual, effective speaker with a good grasp of issues and an extremely hard working campaigner, Wallace’s personal attributes seem to be leveling the playing field somewhat with his better funded opponents.
Saturday, Wallace scored what has to be considered a significant boost for his campaign when he tied Bauer for top spot in a straw poll at the 7th Congressional District Republican Convention. Prosser finished in third place with Jordan and Rice tying for fourth.
District conventions are normally attended by hard core party members, the type who will go out and knock on doors for the candidate of their choice. They are also a core of voters who you know will show up at the polls and bring along their friends.
While Wallace still has obstacles to overcome to even get into a runoff for the nomination, we know he will work hard right up to June 12th, meeting as many voters as he can along the way.
Like the little engine of the children’s storybook, Wallace is climbing the mountain saying “I think I can, I think I can.” The better funded, glitzier candidates in the race would be wise to watch in their rear view mirrors before they get run over.
This district has a history of supporting candidates who work hard and well in one on one situations with the voters. It may be a while ago now, but John Jenrette used the same style to upset long time congressman John McMillan in the old 6th Congressional District in the 1972 Democratic primary. McMillan served 34 years in the House of Representatives before being upset by Jenrette.
The new 7th Congressional District closely resembles the old 6th Congressional District in makeup.
It will be interesting to see if history repeats itself and Wallace puts himself in position on the night of June 12th to say, “I knew I could, I knew I could.”