By Paul Gable
In Horry County, where politics is often a full contact sport, the campaign to defeat Harold Worley for the Republican nomination for Horry County Council District 1 will go down in history as one of the ugliest ever fought.
Since the beginning of the campaign, information from the campaign of Worley’s opponent, Jenna Dukes, has misrepresented Worley’s record on county council.
Mailers from the Dukes campaign say Worley is a millionaire developer “who does not reflect the concerns or needs of the residents of District 1.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. No member of county council has more consistently voted against special interests and for the needs of average citizens than Worley during his 20 years on county council.
Whether or not Dukes is aware of Worley’s voting history, her handlers and contributors, solid members of the developer cabal, certainly are.
Dukes’ signs are prominently displayed on the trucks of A. O. Hardee and Son, owned by developer Benji Hardee. You can’t go past land being developed in District 1 without seeing Dukes signs prominently displayed.
There is no question there is a candidate for the development cabal in the Horry County District 1 race, but that candidate is not Harold Worley.
Worley has voted against initiatives that would have put millions in cabal pockets and the special interest cabal apparently decided it was time to try to remove Worley from office.
Every campaign season, there are charges of interference, removal and vandalism of campaign signs. Ironically, this campaign has provided documented instances of interference with signs supporting Worley and an illegal attempt to vandalize, on private property, a banner supporting Worley.
The attempt to remove the banner was caught on security camera footage – see photo below
Recently a Black voter in District 1 uncovered photos and comments associated with Dukes and her family members that could be considered racist. These pictures and comments were actual posts from Dukes and her family, not from some troll trying to discredit Dukes. The voter made a video asking if Dukes could be counted on to fairly represent Black residents in District 1 in light of the contents of the photos and comments posted. He said the time is never wrong to do the right thing.
No response has been made by Dukes to date.
However, a post was made under the video by an internet troll who always appears during campaign time posting negative comments about candidates who are in opposition to candidates represented by Walter Whetsell, Dukes’ campaign consultant.
And Dukes has her own group of ‘Mean Girls’ trolling the internet to attack Worley and anyone who posts positive comments about him.
With no ability to attack Harold Worley on his past directly, this phantom person posted a comment calling Worley’s son a “child abuser”, which is not only false but also libelous and defamatory.
Residents of District 1 are aware of the allegations made against Worley’s son by his former wife during very messy divorce proceedings. They are also well aware that the charges were openly adjudicated in court and Harold’s son was completely exonerated of the charges and found not guilty.
While Dukes was, no doubt, not directly responsible for the incidents with the signs and may have been unaware of the false posting about Worley’s son, she must be aware of the lies in the post by now and has refused to denounce the post. Dukes has essentially become mute when tough issues need to be addressed.
Attacks, even false ones, against candidates are considered the norm in today’s political environment. However, when those attacks include false statements about children and grandchildren of a candidate, they are indefensible. And to not denounce them is a travesty.
Dukes is a pharmacist, which is acknowledged as one of the most trusted professions in the U.S. with a duty to tell the truth to their clients. If this is her persona, why don’t these same ethical standards apply to her campaign and its operatives? Obviously, they do not.
It is estimated the Dukes’ campaign will spend approximately $300,000 in its attempt to unseat Worley. That amount is nearly five times what the position will pay during the four-year term being sought ($62,400 total).
How is it that a political unknown comes out of nowhere with such a campaign war chest?
That amount of money is not being spent by the cabal and its associates just because Dukes is a nice person. It’s obvious the ‘Boss’ and his cohorts have bigger plans.