Dukes Campaign About Misdirection Not Ideas

By Paul Gable

Horry County Council candidate Jenna Dukes appears to be running a misdirection campaign in her challenge to County Council District One incumbent Harold Worley.

Dukes’ picture is on everything her campaign does – billboards, yard signs and mailers.

It appears the campaign strategy of Dukes and her consultant Walter Whetsell is to concentrate on the picture and confuse the message.

A Dukes mailer came out last week. Its message, in a word, is unbelievable.

The mailer promises as a member of county council Dukes will:

Coordinate with state health officials, hospitals and healthcare providers to increase services and recruit new providers.

Fight for additional funding to raise teacher salaries


Collaborate with the school board to provide safe and effective learning environments and plan for growth to avoid overcrowding.

All that sounds wonderful and is designed to attract the votes of what I call casual voters at the ballot box.

However, none of the above has anything to do with the issues considered by county council and all of those could be considered an attempt at extreme government overreach by Dukes if she actually carried out those initiatives in the event she is elected.

Medical services and professional recruiting are well outside the purview of county government. There are areas of state government that deal with facilities and services and the General Assembly may even consider recruitment incentives, but it is not the job of county government. Maybe Dukes would be better running for the General Assembly.

Funding to raise teacher salaries and providing sufficient, safe schools is the duty of the school board. This isn’t the North or Midwest where some city and/or county governments have schools included in their budgets and oversight.

The school board is an entirely separate elected body in Horry County with its own duties and responsibilities. It is no more appropriate for a county council member to interfere in teacher salaries and school construction than it is for a school board member to stick their nose into police and fire salaries or facilities in the county.

The other three issues on the Dukes mailer – improving infrastructure for continued growth, keeping taxes low and improving pay and resources for first responders is already being done by county council.

Worley, the incumbent Dukes and her special interest funded campaign is targeting, has been at the forefront for improved infrastructure and improving the pay and working conditions of public safety personnel.

Worley partnered with incumbent county Chairman Johnny Gardner over the last four years to seriously address these issues after the wreckage left behind by another Whetsell candidate, Mark Lazarus, who ignored them during his nearly six years as county chairman.

The last issue addressed on the Dukes’ mailer is provide incentives to recruit new industry and jobs to Horry County.

Again, this is already being done by council in coordination with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation. After the MBREDC identifies potential businesses for location within the county and conducts preliminary discussions with business owners, including possible incentives, it recommends an incentive package for council discussion and approval.

The entire group of issues on the Dukes’ mailer are either not the job of a council member or already being addressed routinely by county council.

There is nothing new here. Maybe her picture is prominently displayed on all campaign materials to distract from the fact the campaign has no real message for voters.

Comments are closed.