By Paul Gable
Word is making its way around Horry County that former Coastal Carolina University head football coach David Bennett is seriously considering a run for the new 7th Congressional District seat.
Bennett’s entry into the race could be a game changer in many ways for the already crowded field. A native of Cheraw, Bennett would have instant name recognition throughout the 7th district with strong personal ties in both the western part of the district as well as Horry and Georgetown counties in the east. Any political consultant will tell you that name recognition is the number one factor in a race that has numerous candidates.
Bennett has strong ties with all levels of Horry County voters. He also will probably benefit from a considerable sympathy vote due to the way he was ousted as CCU coach at the end of last season. Bennett’s ouster is considered a betrayal by the CCU leadership after 11 loyal and successful years at the Chanticleers helm.
A poll of Republican candidates last week showed former Lt. Governor Andre Bauer leading at 25 percent, but carrying considerable negatives throughout. Former Horry County Council Chairman and S.C. Parks and Recreation Director Chad Prosser and current Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice were virtually tied in second place with 15 percent each. None of the remaining six candidates made it into double figures.
Enter Bennett into that poll and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him finish in the top spot, based on name recognition and the personal values, such as character and integrity, he has demonstrated as a college football coach.
It is not definite that Bennett will enter the race, but many politicos in Horry County are treating it as such. He must make the decision before the end of next week, but expect it to happen. There are many positives and few negatives for Bennett personally should he choose to run.