Articles by: Paul Gable
This is to introduce you to a new internet media publication – Grand Strand Daily. I am Paul Gable, and I will be the editor of GSD. For over 20 years, I covered local news and politics for newspapers in the area, the most recent being The Myrtle Beach Herald. When the Herald was sold in Spring 2009, I went into semi-retirement to focus on a book. In the intervening period, I also served as a caregiver to my wife, Kathy, as she battled stage four colon cancer. Ultimately, we lost the battle, and Kathy passed on August 9, 2011. With the extra time I now have, I am diving back into the news business with Grand Strand Daily. The focus of the publication will be local news and politics in Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the surrounding areas, as well as profiles of people and editorials on timely subjects. Visit us every day to see our latest updates as we strive to provide the hottest, most in-depth news coverage in the Independent Republic and its surroundings. ~Paul Gable

Election Season Opens Early in Horry County

April 8, 2021 5:54 AM
Election Season Opens Early in Horry County

The next 14 months are going to provide interesting political times in Horry County. During that period, the cities will hold elections this coming fall and county and state primaries will be contested in June 2022.

Electioneering has already begun.

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson is already making a strong bid to replace Tom Rice as the South Carolina District 7 representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Two people have been spreading the word around the county that they intend to challenge Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner in the June 2022 primary.

Mark Lazarus, who Gardner unseated in 2018 with what is probably the biggest upset in Horry County political history, reportedly is telling supporters he wants a rematch with Gardner in the 2022 Republican Primary.

Johnny Vaught, the current County Council District 8 council member, and Dennis DiSabato, the current county council member for District 3, have also been broadcasting they will be candidates for the Republican nomination for county chairman in the 2022 primary.

What is interesting about these announcements is Vaught was a major spokesman for Lazarus’ reelection. Whenever Lazarus needed a surrogate to speak for him at a meeting or other campaign event in 2018, Vaught was the chosen spokesman.

If Vaught and Lazarus both contest the chairman primary, it will bring up another interesting dynamic. Both have used Crescent Communications, the political consulting firm of state Reps. Russell Fry and Heather Crawford and county council member Cam Crawford in past campaigns.

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Gallman Lawsuit Versus Rankin Raises Questions about What is Protected Political Speech

March 26, 2021 5:03 AM
Gallman Lawsuit Versus Rankin Raises Questions about What is Protected Political Speech

The lawsuit filed recently by Republican candidate John Gallman against his opponent Luke Rankin and a host of others who supported Rankin’s reelection raises important questions about protected political speech and other activities during a campaign.

The lawsuit alleges libel/slander, invasion of privacy (private medical records) and conspiracy among the various groups of defendants to destroy Gallman’s reputation.

Political speech has always been given the broadest of interpretations by the courts under First Amendment protections. However, making a statement you know to be false but publishing or broadcasting it anyway is termed “reckless disregard for the truth”, which the lawsuit alleges.

Gallman, Rankin and Carter Smith were the three candidates vying for the Republican nomination for S.C. Senate District 33 in the June 9, 2020 primary election. Gallman and Rankin faced off in a primary runoff to determine the nomination on June 23, 2020.

According to the lawsuit complaint, a 531-page dossier on Gallman was compiled containing documents from Gallman’s divorce proceedings and notes from a forensic interview conducted by the Children’s Recovery Center in Horry County. The complaint alleges the dossier was compiled by the Rankin campaign and distributed to media organizations throughout the state on June 2, 2020.

The forensic interview was conducted with Gallman’s 10-year-old daughter. The records of the interview are statutorily protected and confidential pursuant to S.C. Code § 19-11-95, S.C. Code § 44-22-100, and S.C. Code § 62-11-310.

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Meet Ken Richardson the Number One Candidate to Beat Tom Rice

March 15, 2021 7:15 AM
Meet Ken Richardson the Number One Candidate to Beat Tom Rice

Ken Richardson is a lifelong resident of Horry County. He has been married to wife Donna for 43 years. The couple has two children, Christi Richardson Hucks who has been married to Robert Hucks for 15 years and Christopher Jason Richardson, age 36. Christi and Robert Hucks have two children, Riles age 12 and Winston age 10. All three generations are products of Horry County Schools.

The Richardson and Hucks families have long histories of being involved in public affairs as elected officials, appointed officials and judgeships in Horry County.

Richardson attended Conway High School and was a member of the first integrated football team at the school. He was the smallest player on the team and the coach credited his determination with helping him win a spot.

After graduating from Conway High School, Richardson attended Horry Georgetown Technical College.

While studying at Horry Georgetown Technical College, Richardson was hired as a salesman at Fowler Motors beginning a 40 year career at the car dealership. Beginning the month he was hired, Richardson ran a string of 57 straight months as Salesman of the Month for the dealership before being moved to management. In 1998, Richardson purchased the dealership from Mr. Fowler and was the owner of the only Mercedes, BMW and Cadillac dealership under one roof in the country. He sold the dealership in 2009 to semi-retire and to concentrate more time on his passion – education.

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The Trump Factor in 2022 7th Congressional District Primary

March 2, 2021 4:37 AM
The Trump Factor in 2022 7th Congressional District Primary

Former President Donald Trump left no doubt over the weekend that he will be a factor in the 2022 off year elections for the U.S House of Representatives and Senate.

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday, the former president called out the names of all 10 Republican representatives, including the 7th Congressional District’s Tom Rice, and seven Republican senators who voted for his impeachment. “Get rid of them all,” Trump said.

Trump indicated he will oppose all 17 Republicans who voted against him when they come up for reelection and back candidates who subscribe to his “Make America Great Again” agenda.
Incumbency normally works to a candidate’s advantage. However, in the case of Rice and the others who voted to impeach Trump, it will lose its significance.

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson already has a campaign in place to challenge Rice in the 2022 Republican Primary. He has opened a campaign account, filed with the Federal Election Commission hired campaign staff and is making the rounds of Republican events in the district to introduce his candidacy.

Richardson stated publicly that he would not have voted to impeach the former president when he announced his campaign opening. Political insiders who know Richardson know he was one of the first in the area to support Trump’s candidacy in 2016 and Richardson’s wife traveled the southeast supporting and raising money for Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. Both are firmly in step with the MAGA movement.

Two state legislators, Rep. Russell Fry and Rep. William Bailey have indicated they are studying whether to get into the primary race. Neither has taken a position on Rice’s vote on the impeachment question.

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Rice Continues Stuck in Quagmire of Trump Impeachment Vote

February 21, 2021 8:16 AM
Rice Continues Stuck in Quagmire of Trump Impeachment Vote

Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC7) is sinking deeper into a quagmire of his own making as he attempts to explain his way around his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.

Since voting to impeach Trump a month ago, Rice has been subjected to a continuous stream of criticism from voters in his Congressional District and suffered censure from the state Republican Executive Committee.

Even supposed allies of Rice such as state representatives Russell Fry and Heather Ammons Crawford, who never missed a photo opportunity with Rice in the past, have failed to offer support of Rice when given the opportunity by local media. Likewise, neither has come out with condemnation of Rice’s vote putting them at odds with most other members of the Republican Party as they attempt to hold firmly to the position of ‘fence sitters.’

Fry is reportedly considering a challenge to Rice in the 2022 Republican Primary for the nomination for the 7th Congressional seat. If he decides to challenge Rice, Fry is going to have to get off that fence.

In the month since his impeachment vote, Rice and his advisers have tried to tamp down criticism of his action. But they don’t seem they understand the local sentiment.

In his statements to media and votes in Congress Rice has flip-flopped on the impeachment question. Rice told local and national media that, in the days following the January 6th Capitol insurrection, the more he learned, the more upset he became with Trump’s actions before and during the insurrection.

However, on January 11th Rice issued a statement to local media outlets saying he did not support impeachment of Trump. On January 12th, Rice voted against two resolutions in the House, one calling for using the 25th Amendment to temporarily suspend Trump from the presidency and the other a procedural resolution to bring the resolution of impeachment to the House floor.

Less than 24 hours after voting against bringing the impeachment resolution to the House for a vote, Rice voted for the resolution to impeach the president. What really caused this 180 degree turn in Rice’s actions?

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Richardson Gaining National Attention as Potential Challenger to Rice

January 24, 2021 4:53 AM
Richardson Gaining National Attention as Potential Challenger to Rice

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson hit the national news spotlight recently when the New York Times ran an article mentioning Richardson as a potential challenger to Rice in the upcoming June 2022 Republican Primary for Rice’s SC 7th Congressional District seat.

Richardson said he was surprised at getting a call from the New York Times reporter. “When my phone rang and it was the New York Times on the other end wanting to talk about me challenging Rice for Congress I was very surprised,” said Richardson.

Richardson said his entire focus right now is on getting Horry County students safely back into the classroom five days a week.

Toward that goal, the school district is in the final stages of surrounding each student desk with Plexiglas shields. Richardson said meetings are ongoing with administrators, cafeteria staff and maintenance staff on what additional steps will be required to provide a safe learning environment when the district shifts to full-time, in-school classes.

“My number one priority right now is getting the kids back in school full-time,” Richardson said.

However, making a future run at Rice’s seat is not out of the question for Richardson.

“When the 7th district was first created in 2012, I considered running for the seat then,” Richardson said. “But, I was involved in negotiations to sell my car dealership (Fowler Motors) at the time and I didn’t feel I could give the attention necessary to run a Congressional race at the same time.”

Richardson said he ran for the position of school board chairman because there were things he wanted to accomplish for the students of Horry County, but the thought of running for Congress has never completely left his mind.

In June 2019, Richardson released a statement that Rice needed to do more to help local schools impacted by hurricanes.

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Voters Continue Demand for Rice Resignation

January 19, 2021 6:38 AM
Voters Continue Demand for Rice Resignation

Since voting to impeach President Donald Trump last week, 7th Congressional District Rep. Tom Rice has heard a rising wave of voices calling for him to resign or be defeated at his next election in two years.

Various local and state Republican organizations have run the gamut from strong denunciations of Rice’s vote to outright calls for the Congressman to resign immediately. The overriding theme of these statements is that Rice’s vote to impeach fails to represent the wishes of the voters in his Congressional district.

Stories and interviews about the Rice vote on both traditional media and social media venues have drawn a ratio of negative to positive comments about his vote to impeach of approximately 80% – 20%.

It is fair to say Rice has drawn more attention and comment about this one vote that he has in total about the rest of the eight years he has been in Washington.

One rumor being passed around the county is that Rice made a deal with the Democratic leadership in the House to vote for impeachment in exchange for funding for Interstate 73.

I find that one pretty far-fetched as the Democrats had the votes necessary to impeach Trump without Rice. Why make a deal like that for a vote when you already control the majority? Nevertheless, such is the type of frenzied comment that arises in today’s fractured political climate.

What is interesting is the absolute silence that has been heard from all the local politicians who used to flock to Rice events for photo ops with the Congressman when he was in town. Why aren’t Reps. Heather Ammons Crawford, Russell Fry and Case Brittain at least defending Rice’s right to vote as his conscience dictates on this or any issue?

Brittain gushed gratitude when he received Rice’s endorsement in the special election for the statehouse seat he won last summer. No defense for the man he was so happy to have on his side then or, conversely, no outcry as his constituents have voiced?

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Tom Rice Voted His Retirement Wednesday

January 13, 2021 8:09 PM
Tom Rice Voted His Retirement Wednesday

By voting to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday, South Carolina 7th Congressional District Representative Tom Rice effectively announced his retirement from Congress.

Representing one of the most solidly pro-Trump districts in the nation, Rice’s vote drew nearly 3,000 Facebook comments in a matter of a few hours after his vote. The overwhelming majority of those comments were telling Rice he would never get their vote again and he should immediately retire.

There has always been a debate about whether a Congressman’s vote should represent the wishes of his constituents or that by electing him, his constituents effectively give him permission to vote as he determines proper.

Most congressmen do some of both, but occasionally an issue arises that most congressmen understand that they must vote the wishes of their constituents or suffer the consequences. The question of whether or not to impeach the president was just such an issue in the 7th Congressional District and Rice either didn’t understand the mood of his constituents or just didn’t care.

It’s interesting to note that local officeholders who rush to get Rice’s endorsement at election time and always show up for a photo op with him when he is in town, Luke Rankin, Heather Ammons Crawford, Cam Crawford, Russel Fry and newly elected Case Brittain quickly come to mind, have offered no defense of Rice on this issue.

They understand discretion is the better part of valor on this issue and defending Rice’s vote would only serve to put their future election prospects in peril.

While the overwhelming number of Republican voters in Horry County, who also happen to be the overwhelming number of voters in the county, condemned Rice’s vote, he did garner thanks from the county Democrats.

A press release by the Horry County Democratic Party said in part, “Jan. 13, 2021 — The Horry County Democratic Party today thanked Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC-7) for joining nine other Republicans and every Democrat in the House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump.”

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The Twelve Days of Christmas

December 22, 2020 1:40 PM
The Twelve Days of Christmas

What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans and especially the partridge who won’t come out of a pear tree have to do with the Twelve Days of Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this Carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

The song has two levels of meaning:

The Partridge in a Pear Tree was Jesus Christ.

Two Turtle Doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French Hens stood for Faith, Hope and Love.

The Four Calling Birds were the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The Five Golden Rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The Six Geese A-Laying stood for the six days of Creation.

Seven Swans A-Swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit – Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.

The Eight Maids A-Milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine Ladies Dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.

The Ten Lords A-Leaping were the Ten Commandments.

The Eleven Pipers Piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

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Lawsuit Challenging Proposed Campground Sale Latest Myrtle Beach Demonstration of Bad Public Policy

November 30, 2020 5:03 AM
Lawsuit Challenging Proposed Campground Sale Latest Myrtle Beach Demonstration of Bad Public Policy

The pending lawsuit between Horry County and the City of Myrtle Beach over the proceeds from the proposed sale of the city owned portion of Pirateland and Lakewood campgrounds highlights another example of poor public policy that has been the lowlight of incumbent Mayor Brenda Bethune and city council’s last three years in office.

This will be at least the fourth major lawsuit involving the city, three of which have Horry County on the opposing side, since Bethune took office.

The lawsuit that does not include Horry County was brought by merchants affected by a supposed “family friendly overlay zone” on Ocean Boulevard that prohibits the sale of certain items which are readily available and sold throughout the remainder of the city.

These prohibitions appear to be not only a violation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees equal application of the law, but since over 90 percent of the affected businesses are Jewish owned, also appear to be discriminatory and anti-Semitic. Bethune led the charge in passing these discriminatory restrictions by city council.

Unequal application of the law and discrimination against a certain segment of the business community is certainly bad public policy.

In the three lawsuits involving Horry County, it appears the city was attempting to get its hands on pots of money that the city used extremely suspect logic to lay claims to,

One lawsuit has the county and Horry County School District suing the city over alleged misuse of approximately $20 million in TIF funds collected from Market Common.

A second lawsuit was initiated by the city against Horry County for hospitality fee collection. In this one, the city attempted to allege that the county has been illegally collecting hospitality fees in the city since January 1, 2017 and was looking to lay claim to over $100 million in funds.

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