By Paul Gable
The New Year begins a five-month sprint for the 7th Congressional District Republican nomination among 10 announced challengers to incumbent Tom Rice.
Much nonsense will be heard from the various campaigns as candidates attempt to attract the attention of voters.
However, to date, the campaign of state Rep. Russell Fry has been the King of Terminological Inexactitudes, to use a phrase first coined Winston Churchill in 1906 to describe lies in parliamentary debate.
Then, a recent video appeal for campaign donations, featured on his @RussellFrySC Facebook page, sounded absolutely desperate in its appeal for money. I have heard many comments about the video including how the timing was bad, the appearance was awful and the desperation in the plea for money was apparent.
In an effort to concoct some type of appealing image to voters, Fry’s campaign pronouncements have been full of catch phrases designed to appeal conservative voters.
It took Fry eight months after Tom Rice voted to impeach former President Donald Trump to first denounce Rice’s vote. To hear Fry tell it now in campaign videos, he is the prime defender of America First values to which Rice is a traitor.
But Rice and Fry are cut from the same cloth. Both have staked their political careers on catering to the whims and wishes of the Myrtle Beach cabal. Fry was very happy to share the stage with Rice several months ago during a Chamber staged event promoting Interstate 73.
No politician can possibly be true to conservative fiscal values and also support the I-73 boondoggle. But Fry has always been a Chamber politician, just look at his donors through the years. If Rice doesn’t win reelection, the Chamber would like Fry to be the one to replace him to keep an elitist Chamber agenda voice in Congress, even though that has not meant any significant federal money for I-73. A vote for Fry is as much a vote for the elitist Chamber agenda as a vote for Rice.
One post by Fry featured a supposed poll showing him as the only candidate that can beat Rice. The poll was a definite push poll designed to impart negative impressions about the other major challengers. In addition, the published results fall into the terminological inexactitude category. It is extremely questionable that Fry can even get into a runoff with Rice, much less defeat him if he were to be so lucky as to come in number two.
Despite a post on Facebook, Fry was a latecomer to signing a letter to the SC School Boards Association asking that organization to split from the National School Boards Association. Fry signed on late after he concluded it would help his Congressional campaign.
Current Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson was the first candidate in this race to come out strongly against teaching Critical Race Theory in Horry County Schools. Richardson was called on by the NAACP to resign as chairman for his position on Critical Race Theory, but has refused to both resign or allow such teachings in the schools. He has consistently said no theory that pits one race against another will be taught in Horry County as long as he is chairman.
Nevertheless, Fry’s terminological inexactitudes have attempted to frame Richardson as the exact opposite of his public position. Fry posted a letter claiming to stand with parents and children while criticizing one (unnamed) school board member.
However, Fry did the exact opposite when he allowed a rally for Luke Rankin’s senate campaign against John Gallman to take place in the parking lot of Fry’s law firm. The rally accused Gallman of a number of false actions including domestic abuse in front of his children, a lie completely proven false in court divorce records. At the rally, it was evidently more important to keep Luke Rankin, another Chamber elitist, in the Senate than to ‘stand with parents and children’ and tell the truth.
Most interesting was Fry’s use of his state representative campaign account to send Christmas cards to voters throughout the 7th Congressional District. There is no justification Fry can come up with that would allow his state campaign account to pay for Christmas cards sent outside of his SC House District 106 area. Nevertheless, he did it.
Maybe that is a lesson Fry learned from his friend, former state Rep. Alan Clemmons, who was the poster boy for creative use of campaign account expenditures.
Fry’s largest obstacle to election may only now be surfacing with the recent revelations about the dismissal from Coastal Carolina University of Horry County Council member Cam Crawford for violating university policies on sexual harassment and non-discrimination. Crawford is Fry’s business partner in Crescent Communications.
Crawford’s dismissal occurred two years ago and it’s hard to believe Fry was unaware of the findings of the university into Crawford’s actions. However, Fry has remained silent and has failed to publicly distance himself from Crawford in the interim. Maybe Fry doesn’t want women to vote for him in the upcoming primary.
With the five-month sprint to the finish line just beginning, we will be subjected to many more terminological inexactitudes and desperate pleas in the future. I don’t believe the voters will be fooled.