Author: Paul Gable

How Did Lazarus Lose with 10 to 1 Spending Advantage?

Money is considered the magic ingredient in political campaigns. If you have enough of it, you can’t lose.
Mark Lazarus had a 10 to 1 money advantage over Johnny Gardner in their recent campaign for Horry County Council Chairman. Yet, even with such an overwhelming money advantage, Lazarus snatched defeat from the jaws of victory again.
The Lazarus campaign had Walter Whetsell as its consultant. Whetsell was Tom Rice’s campaign consultant since Rice first ran for Congress in 2012.
After Rice voted to impeach President Donald Trump, Whetsell told media that a week in politics is a lifetime and voters would forget about the Rice vote in a couple of weeks. What actually happened was voters remembered the Rice vote for 18 months and voted him out of office two weeks ago.
Four years ago, Lazarus calling the county police and fire first responders “Thugs” put the final nail in his coffin denying him reelection as county chairman.
This time, a terrible campaign strategy, that had Lazarus trying to deny the “Thug” comment as well as the rest of his history as county chairman, was an affront to the voters. The voters didn’t forget Lazarus’ history over the four years he was out of office.

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Lazarus Biggest Primary Loser Because He Couldn’t Fool All the People or Even a Majority

Now that primary elections are completed, the biggest loser can be identified as Mark Lazarus in his bid to regain the post of Horry County Council Chairman.
Lazarus went into this campaign absolutely certain that his defeat by incumbent Chairman Johnny Gardner in 2018 was an aberration and that he would without question win a rematch this year.
Lazarus had a funding edge of approximately 10 to 1 over Gardner when donations to his campaign and the three PACs who sent mailers or paid for television ads to support his candidacy are totaled.
A funding edge of 10 to 1 should be enough to win any race. But it wasn’t, mainly because Lazarus could not escape the load of baggage he carried with him from his five and one-half years as county chairman from 2013-2018.
Lazarus could not escape the fact that he called the county first responders “Thugs” four years ago. He couldn’t escape his tight ties with the local cabal, his willingness to spend local government revenue on Interstate 73 construction instead of local road improvements and the anything goes development atmosphere that was pervasive throughout the county during his time as chairman.
And the Lazarus campaign strategy of attempting to rewrite his history as chairman, then going negative on Gardner was awful. Blame that on his campaign consultant Walter Whetsell and his Starboard Communications.

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Lazarus’ Last Desperate Gasp for a Win

During the last several months the Mark Lazarus campaign has tried everything to change the history of his previous term as county chairman and to present a false image of Lazarus as a successful leader, which of course he was not.
That is unless you count getting the entire county work force mad at you; spending county revenue on a project that should be paid for by the state and federal governments if it is to be built at all and allowing unrestricted development to outpace the local infrastructure in roads, stormwater mitigation and public services as successful accomplishments.
As a last-ditch effort to pull out victory, the Lazarus campaign resorted to a tactic that was successful for Luke Rankin two years ago. It found a PAC to spend dark money for a hit piece on Gardner.
However, instead of the outrageous false and defamatory accusations made about Rankin’s opponent John Gallman two years ago, the one against Gardner is barely a whimper.
It was much less of a thing than the attempt Lazarus, Chris Eldridge and Arrigo Carotti tried to pull to keep Gardner from taking office as chairman four years ago only speaks to how clean Gardner has been.
Four years ago, it was a completely false memo about fictional allegations all, apparently, the figment of Carotti’s imagination. The supposed source Carotti said gave him the initial information for his five-page memo called the memo “mostly fiction” after the Carotti’s attempt at being an author went public and a SLED investigation found no credibility in anything Carotti wrote.

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The Cabal or the People, the Choice for County Chairman

The primary runoff between incumbent county chairman Johnny Gardner and challenger Mark Lazarus is a contest for who will control county decisions for the next decade – The best interests of the People or the best interests of the Cabal.
Will it be Gardner, the candidate who attempts to look out for the interests of the People? Or will it be Lazarus who is funded heavily by the Cabal because, in the past, he has always worked for the Cabal?
How do you spell Cabal politicians – Bethune, Rankin, Brittain, Vaught, Howard, DiSabato, Lazarus
Who endorsed Mark Lazarus – Bethune, Rankin, Brittain, Vaught, Howard, DiSabato
That should be reason enough for citizens, who do not want to see the county entirely run by the Cabal, to know why not to vote for Lazarus on Tuesday for chairman of Horry County Council.
There are other reasons.
Lazarus endorsed Tom Rice for reelection. The citizens soundly rejected Rice in the first round of the primary.

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Rice Betrayed 7th District Voters, Lazarus Betrays Horry County Voters

The instant Tom Rice pressed “Yes” to vote to impeach President Donald Trump, he betrayed a vast majority of the Republican voters in the SC 7th Congressional District and signaled the end of his political career.
When Mark Lazarus became the first local politician to endorse Rice for reelection after that ignominious vote, Lazarus betrayed a vast majority of the voters of Horry County.
During his entire 2022 campaign for Horry County Chairman, Lazarus has tried to portray himself as a conservative Republican leader. He is anything but! The Lazarus endorsement of Trump impeacher Rice demonstrates that fact.
Last week, Trump gave an incredible show of his strength among local Republican voters. In a seven-person primary for the 7th Congressional District nomination, a primary that included five-term incumbent Rice, Trump’s endorsed candidate polled over 51% of the vote to avoid a runoff and win on the first ballot. Make no mistake, those voters who voted for Trump’s endorsee were actually showing their support for Trump.
I don’t understand how Lazarus expects a majority of next Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff voters to cast a ballot for him when Lazarus refused to stand up for the leader of the Republican Party and instead chose to endorse Trump impeacher Rice.

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Did Vaught Endorse Lazarus or Not?

It was with several questions I watched the Facebook video, posted Monday June 20, 2022, on the Mark Lazarus for Horry County Council Chairman page, in which Johnny Vaught might be endorsing Mark Lazarus for county council chairman in the June 28th Republican primary runoff.
There were several statements by Vaught in the video which raise questions about its entire validity.
Forty seconds into the video, Vaught says, “When International Drive opens in June…” and later he says the opening of International Drive “will facilitate the widening of Carolina Forest Boulevard…”
Those two statements could mean the video is four years old. International Drive opened in July 2018 and the widening of Carolina Forest Boulevard has been completed.
Is it a video recorded four years ago to endorse Lazarus in 2018? Is it actually an endorsement by Vaught of Lazarus in 2022 or just an old video posted to make it seem that way? Or, is it a current video in which Vaught has no idea what he is saying?
Only Lazarus and maybe Vaught know for sure.

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Katrina Morrison Endorses Johnny Gardner for County Chairman

Local activist and former county council chairman candidate Katrina Morrison announced yesterday that she is endorsing incumbent county council Chairman Johnny Gardner in the June 28th Republican Primary runoff election.
“There is no question Johnny Gardner is a much better choice for county council chairman than Mark Lazarus,” Morrison said. “I intend to do everything I can to see Gardner is reelected.”
One of the four candidates who initially filed in the county council chairman primary, Morrison has been a vocal critic of the virtually unrestrained development, especially in or near wetlands, that has gone on in the county in recent years.
Morrison received over 6,000 votes in the first round of the primary virtually all of which would have gone to Gardner had Morrison not been in the race, leaving Gardner and Lazarus in a virtual tie in the first round of voting.
Lazarus outspent Gardner nearly 10 to 1 in the first round of the primary with virtually all of his campaign contributions coming from the development and tourism cabal. The Lazarus campaign was also the beneficiary of four mailers paid for by the S. C. Association of Realtors PAC, which added approximately $80,000 more to the elect Lazarus effort.
The cabal’s goal is to elect candidates who will remove all restrictions on development and who will vote to use county tax dollars to fund Interstate 73 construction.

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Gardner Made the County Safer in His First Term

The election for Horry County Council Chairman is down to the same two candidates who contested the seat in 2018.
The choice is exactly the same. Chairman Johnny Gardner is the candidate of the people of Horry County while challenger Mark Lazarus is the candidate of the tourism and development cabal.
An estimated $300,000 has already been spent on Lazarus messaging of totally false statements about his record in the 2013-2018 period he served as county chairman.
Lazarus has run around the county bragging about all he did to improve public safety in the county and what a great leader he is.
Here’s the real story.
The local Fraternal Order of Police and International Association of Fire Fighters organizations both endorsed Gardner in 2018 and have done so again in 2022.
Four years ago, the county’s Public Safety Division was in terrible shape with officers routinely leaving for other jobs and morale historically low.
Gardner’s motto for his 2018 campaign was “Public Safety Priority One Day One.”

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Last Minute Swamp Tricks in 7th Congressional District Race

Three months ago, 7th Congressional District candidate Mark McBride claimed that Myrtle Beach SC publisher David Hucks offered a bribe to McBride on behalf of candidate Ken Richardson.
According to McBride’s subsequent Facebook rant, McBride was asked to drop out of the 7th Congressional District race and throw his support to Richardson for the promise of some type of job.
Grand Strand Daily has learned that SLED will issue a press release shortly, which will state after an investigation McBride’s claims were found to be totally without merit.
The fact that there was no basis for McBride’s rant is not surprising. He was never going to be a factor in this race whether he stayed in or got out. Tomorrow’s voting will demonstrate that statement.
But, there is quite possibly a darker side to this entire affair. Richardson was an early candidate in the race building momentum against incumbent Tom Rice.
Then, Gov. Henry McMaster and SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick worked hard to get an endorsement candidate Russell Fry by Donald Trump.
According to information received by Grand Strand Daily, SLED completed its investigation of the false claim within several weeks and the report of the investigation lay untouched in the office of Attorney General Alan Wilson for at least eight weeks.
Now, in the late afternoon of the day before polls open and after the two-week period for early voting has ended, the announcement will be made that there is no wrongdoing on Richardson’s part.

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Cabal Flooding Dollars to Defeat People’s Candidates in Tuesday Primary Elections

There are reasons hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent by candidates hand-picked by the development and tourism cabal for county council and other races in Tuesday’s primary elections.
Those reasons are not to improve Hwy 90 or 905, improve flood mitigation efforts or increase public safety resources.
Those reasons are to control enough votes on county council to pass cabal favored issues such as local funding for Interstate 73 and several upcoming development schemes that will net cabal players tens of millions of dollars in their pockets.
The old saying ‘you have to spend money to make money’ is in play – spend money on the campaigns of certain candidates to make money when the votes go in the right direction.
The last time I remember this level of spending, especially on county council races, was in the elections prior to the push for approval of the Burroughs and Chapin Multi County Business Park development concept over 20 years ago. Some of the same players involved with campaign funding of preferred candidates then are back again in this round of campaign financing.
The most contributions to individual campaigns are those of Mark Lazarus for Horry County Council Chairman and Jenna Dukes for Horry County Council District 1.
The belief is Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner and Horry County Council District 1 member Harold Worley have to be removed from office for cabal plans to go forward.

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