By Paul Gable
Three months ago, 7th Congressional District candidate Mark McBride claimed that Myrtle Beach SC publisher David Hucks offered a bribe to McBride on behalf of candidate Ken Richardson.
According to McBride’s subsequent Facebook rant, McBride was asked to drop out of the 7th Congressional District race and throw his support to Richardson for the promise of some type of job.
Grand Strand Daily has learned that SLED will issue a press release shortly, which will state after an investigation McBride’s claims were found to be totally without merit.
The fact that there was no basis for McBride’s rant is not surprising. He was never going to be a factor in this race whether he stayed in or got out. Tomorrow’s voting will demonstrate that statement.
But, there is quite possibly a darker side to this entire affair. Richardson was an early candidate in the race building momentum against incumbent Tom Rice.
Then, Gov. Henry McMaster and SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick worked hard to get an endorsement candidate Russell Fry by Donald Trump.
According to information received by Grand Strand Daily, SLED completed its investigation of the false claim within several weeks and the report of the investigation lay untouched in the office of Attorney General Alan Wilson for at least eight weeks.
Now, in the late afternoon of the day before polls open and after the two-week period for early voting has ended, the announcement will be made that there is no wrongdoing on Richardson’s part.
The entire episode smelled of politics from McBride’s opening rant to the timing of the announcement of the investigation findings by SLED.
Wilson has been endorsed for reelection by Trump as has McMaster.
Did they individually or collectively decide that Fry’s chances in the 7th Congressional District race would be improved if they held off announcement of the report findings until virtually the last minute before polls open?
I have no proof that such was the case, but my nearly 39 years of watching Horry County and South Carolina politics leads to the conclusion that it is certainly a possibility. Stranger things have happened both in Horry County and South Carolina politics to try to influence election outcomes.
I have said all along it was the cabal’s intention to get Rice and Fry into a runoff so the cabal would win either way. The timing of events gives the appearance this whole episode was part of the plan.