By Paul Gable
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.
Significant, but somewhat lesser contributions are going to Johnny Vaught in the chairman race as part of a two-prong effort to defeat Chairman Gardner; to reelect incumbent District 2 council member Bill Howard and to elect candidate Mike Masciarelli in the Horry County District 8 race for the seat being vacated by Vaught.
Dean Richardson in District 2 and David Ellis in District 8 will look out for the people first, if elected.
Give the cabal those four votes to go along with those of cabal incumbents Dennis DiSabato, Gary Loftus and Cam Crawford and the cabal will control county council decisions.
The cabal already controls Myrtle Beach City Council, which is why the grand ‘downtown redevelopment scheme’ is going forward while crime and problems with homeless people, empty buildings in other traditional business areas and neighborhood issues go ignored.
The cabal is also investing in the two contested statehouse races, House District 61 and House District 106. Their preferred candidates in those races, determined by information in campaign disclosure reports, are Chamber tied Carla Schuessler in District 61 and realtor Val Guest in District 106.
Add those two to incumbents the cabal already controls, Heather Crawford and Case Brittain in the House and Luke Rankin, Stephen Goldfinch and Greg Hembree in the Senate and the cabal will get anything it wants from the county legislative delegation, such as a push for I-73 funding and any votes that may be necessary for its development plans.
The People’s Movement in Horry County was successful in electing Gardner as county chairman and William Bailey to the S.C. House in 2018. Bailey is unopposed this time while Gardner faces the challenge described above.
No council member has voted for the people’s interests and resisted efforts of the cabal more than Worley over the last 20 years. That’s why the cabal determined he must go.
Dean Richardson in Horry County Council District 2 and David Ellis in Horry County Council District 8 will bring business experience to county council and look to help the citizens first.
John Cassidy in the House District 61 race has longtime ties in the Conway community and Howard Barnard in the House District 106 race brings the independent thinking of a retired Air Force pilot and experience serving on county council and the school board. Both will listen to the people.
And then there’s the contest for the S. C. 7th Congressional District for the House of Representatives. Incumbent Tom Rice has long been the cabal candidate in Washington and the cabal prefers to keep it that way. However, Russell Fry was a solid cabal vote in the statehouse and is the cabal’s “B” team candidate in case Rice falters because of his vote to impeach President Donald Trump. If either gets elected, the cabal wins.
Ken Richardson, a longtime Conway businessman and current Chairman of the Horry County School Board provides a people’s alternative in the Congressional race who has the advantage of already having won a countywide election in Horry County. Horry County has approximately 54% of the total vote in the 7th Congressional District. Richardson has a proven record of listening to and helping the problems of the people rather than special interests.
There you have it – the cabal versus the people. Forget all the campaign mailers and campaign ads with their messages meant to mislead and confuse and outright lie about the positions of the cabal candidates.
The real question in Tuesday’s primary elections is do voters cede control of important decisions at the county, state and federal levels to the cabal or keep it for themselves with the people’s candidates?
The answer at the ballot box will decide the future of Horry County and the 7th Congressional District for the next decade.