By Paul Gable
Several sources, with inside, personal knowledge of deliberations, have told Grand Strand Daily that local businesswoman Debbie Harwell will announce her candidacy for the vacant Horry County Council Chairman seat within the next 48 hours.
Harwell, owner of Adobe Palm Communications and former morning talk radio personality on WRNN radio, will bring the number of candidates announced for the race to four.
Former council chair Liz Gilland, former council member Mark Lazarus and current District 11 county council representative Al Allen are the other announced candidates.
Harwell brings experience as a lobbyist, through her Adobe Palm business, on the local, state and federal government levels with projects such as the current airport terminal expansion at Myrtle Beach International Airport and the Interstate 73 initiative among her portfolio.
According to our sources, Harwell was sought out by local politicos, who were not satisfied with the field of Allen, Lazarus and Gilland, and encouraged to run.
Further, we are hearing Harwell has already contracted with veteran, local political consultant Donald Smith to run her campaign. Smith has a long string of successes in political races by Horry County Republican candidates at the state and local level.
Most interesting for the Harwell/Smith connection is this will be Harwell’s first foray into electoral politics. This is exactly the same situation Smith faced two years ago when he managed novice political candidate Tom Rice’s successful campaign for council chairman.
Harwell did announce as a candidate for the 7th Congressional District last year, but withdrew before filing because of serious health problems experienced by her husband, former S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice David Harwell.
Reportedly, Judge Harwell’s health has improved far beyond expectations, allowing Harwell the freedom to run for council chairman.
We are told Harwell is spending this holiday weekend lining up supporters and donors. She will, reportedly, file her Statement of Intention of Candidacy Tuesday at Horry County Republican Headquarters.