Special Election Primary – Who Cares?


Untitled-1By Paul Gable

We are at the weekend before the special election primary for Horry County Council chairman and there is very little buzz “on the street” about the race.

Is it that voters are electioned out or that the five candidates have failed to generate any real excitement about themselves?

I suspect both of the above are part of the problem.

Two things I am hearing on the street from average citizens are no matter who becomes the next chairman, there is little support for giving government money to private businesses in the name of economic development and there is little support for building I-73.

One thing has raised my eyebrows in the last 24 hours was an internet poll on the WMBF News website. As I write this Debbie Harwell has 51% of the vote in the poll trailed by Al Allen 29%, Mark Lazarus 16%, Fonzie Lewis 3% and Liz Gilland 1%.

These results may mean nothing at all. Being an internet poll, maybe none of the votes came from Horry County. Maybe all of Harwell’s supporters watch WMBF. The poll was set up, however, to eliminate repeat balloting so just a few people could skew the results.

One nugget that makes me pay a little attention, however, is the vote garnered by Gilland. Her base of support has traditionally been elderly citizens who are not necessarily internet savvy so little support for Gilland on such a poll would be expected, if the poll has any semblance of reality.

Does this make the results for the other candidates at least worth paying some attention to?

Maybe, maybe not. One thing that comes to mind is that maybe Harwell is making some inroads on name recognition and she is closing the gap with the early frontrunners Lazarus and Gilland.

My inclinations are that there will be a runoff. I see no way Lazarus is not one of the runoff candidates and I believe the other will be a woman. Whether that is Gilland or Harwell remains to be seen.

We’ll know on Tuesday.

One other observation, I believe must be made. Special elections traditionally have terrible turnout. Realistically, 5% or less of the registered voters could elect the next county council chairman. This really is tragic in a country that touts its democratic process.

If you care at all about what type of county you live in, please VOTE on Tuesday. Don’t let someone else make your decisions.



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