Tag: Johnny Gardner

Rice Betrayed 7th District Voters, Lazarus Betrays Horry County Voters

The instant Tom Rice pressed “Yes” to vote to impeach President Donald Trump, he betrayed a vast majority of the Republican voters in the SC 7th Congressional District and signaled the end of his political career.
When Mark Lazarus became the first local politician to endorse Rice for reelection after that ignominious vote, Lazarus betrayed a vast majority of the voters of Horry County.
During his entire 2022 campaign for Horry County Chairman, Lazarus has tried to portray himself as a conservative Republican leader. He is anything but! The Lazarus endorsement of Trump impeacher Rice demonstrates that fact.
Last week, Trump gave an incredible show of his strength among local Republican voters. In a seven-person primary for the 7th Congressional District nomination, a primary that included five-term incumbent Rice, Trump’s endorsed candidate polled over 51% of the vote to avoid a runoff and win on the first ballot. Make no mistake, those voters who voted for Trump’s endorsee were actually showing their support for Trump.
I don’t understand how Lazarus expects a majority of next Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff voters to cast a ballot for him when Lazarus refused to stand up for the leader of the Republican Party and instead chose to endorse Trump impeacher Rice.

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Did Vaught Endorse Lazarus or Not?

It was with several questions I watched the Facebook video, posted Monday June 20, 2022, on the Mark Lazarus for Horry County Council Chairman page, in which Johnny Vaught might be endorsing Mark Lazarus for county council chairman in the June 28th Republican primary runoff.
There were several statements by Vaught in the video which raise questions about its entire validity.
Forty seconds into the video, Vaught says, “When International Drive opens in June…” and later he says the opening of International Drive “will facilitate the widening of Carolina Forest Boulevard…”
Those two statements could mean the video is four years old. International Drive opened in July 2018 and the widening of Carolina Forest Boulevard has been completed.
Is it a video recorded four years ago to endorse Lazarus in 2018? Is it actually an endorsement by Vaught of Lazarus in 2022 or just an old video posted to make it seem that way? Or, is it a current video in which Vaught has no idea what he is saying?
Only Lazarus and maybe Vaught know for sure.

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Katrina Morrison Endorses Johnny Gardner for County Chairman

Local activist and former county council chairman candidate Katrina Morrison announced yesterday that she is endorsing incumbent county council Chairman Johnny Gardner in the June 28th Republican Primary runoff election.
“There is no question Johnny Gardner is a much better choice for county council chairman than Mark Lazarus,” Morrison said. “I intend to do everything I can to see Gardner is reelected.”
One of the four candidates who initially filed in the county council chairman primary, Morrison has been a vocal critic of the virtually unrestrained development, especially in or near wetlands, that has gone on in the county in recent years.
Morrison received over 6,000 votes in the first round of the primary virtually all of which would have gone to Gardner had Morrison not been in the race, leaving Gardner and Lazarus in a virtual tie in the first round of voting.
Lazarus outspent Gardner nearly 10 to 1 in the first round of the primary with virtually all of his campaign contributions coming from the development and tourism cabal. The Lazarus campaign was also the beneficiary of four mailers paid for by the S. C. Association of Realtors PAC, which added approximately $80,000 more to the elect Lazarus effort.
The cabal’s goal is to elect candidates who will remove all restrictions on development and who will vote to use county tax dollars to fund Interstate 73 construction.

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Gardner Made the County Safer in His First Term

The election for Horry County Council Chairman is down to the same two candidates who contested the seat in 2018.
The choice is exactly the same. Chairman Johnny Gardner is the candidate of the people of Horry County while challenger Mark Lazarus is the candidate of the tourism and development cabal.
An estimated $300,000 has already been spent on Lazarus messaging of totally false statements about his record in the 2013-2018 period he served as county chairman.
Lazarus has run around the county bragging about all he did to improve public safety in the county and what a great leader he is.
Here’s the real story.
The local Fraternal Order of Police and International Association of Fire Fighters organizations both endorsed Gardner in 2018 and have done so again in 2022.
Four years ago, the county’s Public Safety Division was in terrible shape with officers routinely leaving for other jobs and morale historically low.
Gardner’s motto for his 2018 campaign was “Public Safety Priority One Day One.”

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Cabal Flooding Dollars to Defeat People’s Candidates in Tuesday Primary Elections

There are reasons hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent by candidates hand-picked by the development and tourism cabal for county council and other races in Tuesday’s primary elections.
Those reasons are not to improve Hwy 90 or 905, improve flood mitigation efforts or increase public safety resources.
Those reasons are to control enough votes on county council to pass cabal favored issues such as local funding for Interstate 73 and several upcoming development schemes that will net cabal players tens of millions of dollars in their pockets.
The old saying ‘you have to spend money to make money’ is in play – spend money on the campaigns of certain candidates to make money when the votes go in the right direction.
The last time I remember this level of spending, especially on county council races, was in the elections prior to the push for approval of the Burroughs and Chapin Multi County Business Park development concept over 20 years ago. Some of the same players involved with campaign funding of preferred candidates then are back again in this round of campaign financing.
The most contributions to individual campaigns are those of Mark Lazarus for Horry County Council Chairman and Jenna Dukes for Horry County Council District 1.
The belief is Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner and Horry County Council District 1 member Harold Worley have to be removed from office for cabal plans to go forward.

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Cabal Candidates vs. the People’s Chairman in County Chairman Primary

The current campaign for the Republican nomination for Chairman of Horry County Council is a contest to decide whether the citizens of Horry County will have their voices heard for the next four years or whether the tourism and development cabal will call the shots over that period.
One only has to look at campaign disclosure reports of the candidates to see the money that has been lavished on the cabal ‘A team’ candidate Mark Lazarus and the cabal ‘B team’ candidate Johnny Vaught in an effort to unseat current Chairman Johnny Gardner.
In a nearly constant stream of mailers and television and radio ads, Lazarus has attempted to rewrite the history of the 2013-2018 period he served as chairman of county council as well as his “leadership” abilities.
The alternate reality is that Lazarus has a proven record of investing in road and infrastructure improvements, supporting police and fire first responders and recruiting industry to diversify the economy.
The $600 million in roads and infrastructure stated on the Lazarus campaign literature actually refers to the Ride III projects. Ride projects are identified by an independent commission, approved by an up or down vote of county council with no amendments allowed and submitted to the voters in a referendum for approval and funding by a one-cent local option sales tax. The chairman and county council in toto have virtually nothing to do with Ride projects decisions or approval.
Lazarus’ alleged support for public safety is virtually non-existent. There is a reason that the local branches of the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Fighters endorsed the candidacy of Gardner over Lazarus in 2018 and have again endorsed Gardner in the current 2022 campaign.

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Cabal Candidates Continue to Ignore History and Promote their Own Version of Political Reality

The longer this campaign season goes on, the more outrageous the misrepresentation from the developer and tourism cabal candidates about their records become, demonstrating their total disregard for the voters they claim to want to represent.
Actually, the only voters cabal candidates really want to represent are the ones funding their campaigns with large amounts of cash. Those voters, of course, are not sufficient in number to get any candidate elected, hence the necessity to roll out the lies about themselves and/or their opponents.
The tendency of cabal candidates to create new history was on full display during an event held at the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce last week.
Five candidates attended the event. Incumbent county council member for Horry County District 1 Harold Worley and his opponent Jenna Dukes. For county chairman were incumbent Chairman Johnny Gardner, Mark Lazarus and Johnny Vaught. Each candidate was given five minutes to speak about the issues.
Gardner and Worley have been especially targeted for defeat by the cabal.

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Gardner, Worley Receive Top Grades from Local Flood Group

Horry County Rising, the group committed to strengthening local standards to help mitigate flooding, yesterday released its rankings of local county council members seeking reelection in contested primaries.
The mission of Horry County Rising is to establish stronger wetland protections, increase investments for stormwater infrastructure and fund flood mitigation projects to protect our communities from flooding.
The group based its rankings of the incumbents on four criteria:
1. Level of engagement
2. Level of cooperation
3. Level of action
4. Level of preparedness
Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner and Horry County District One council member Harold Worley received top grades from Horry County Rising.
Horry County District Eight council member Orton Bellamy placed third while Horry County Council member for District Two Bill Howard and current Horry County Council member for District Eight and candidate for chairman Johnny Vaught were tied for the lowest ranking.
Horry County Rising thanked its members for their engagement with elected county officials in the past several years, which resulted in Horry County Council passing the strongest flood protection standards in the state in December 2021.
However, there is more work to be done at both the state and local levels to further mitigate the potential catastrophic damages caused by flooding as the county experienced in 2016 and 2018.

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Lazarus and Vaught, the Siamese Twins of the Cabal’s ‘Reality Politics’ Show

The Myrtle Beach cabal and its chosen candidates are staging their very own political reality show during this campaign season. As with any reality tv show, it has nothing to do with reality.
Nor does it have anything to do with issues or the interests of the voters.
The programs on reality tv need conflict and tension to give them public appeal. This plotline is being recreated in the political arena by having the history of cabal candidates and their opponents rewritten.
What is at stake in this election cycle is whether the gains made in the last four years for the citizens will be allowed to continue or whether kowtowing to special interests will again be the order of the day.
Four years ago, when Horry County Chairman Johnny Gardner defeated Mark Lazarus, Johnny Vaught acted as a Lazarus surrogate attending the functions Lazarus didn’t attend and speaking for Lazarus at those events.
This time around, Vaught and Lazarus are both challenging Gardner’s reelection. Again, both carry similar false messages about what the county needs. They do not attend the same functions around the county and they are known to be meeting periodically, apparently to discuss campaign strategy.
Joined at the hip to give special interests an ally in the county chair, Lazarus and Vaught are the Siamese reality twins of this election cycle attempting to sow confusion, conflict and tension into the campaign for county chairman.

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Rice, Fry and Myrtle Beach Chamber Lose Big in HCGOP Straw Poll

(Drain the Swamp Thumbs Up from Donald Trump)
The members of the HCGOP are following Donald Trump’s ‘Drain the Swamp’ mantra even when Trump makes the mistake of endorsing a Swamp candidate as he did with his endorsement of Russell Fry in the 7th Congressional District race.
Friday the Thirteenth has been known as an unlucky day since Friday October 13, 1307, when King Philip of France ordered the arrest of all Knights Templar in France as a threat to his throne. The arrests and subsequent killing of the Knights Templar effectively ended the order’s political and financial influence throughout Europe.
A similar conclusion about the influence of the Myrtle Beach Chamber cabal and its candidates can be drawn from the results of the Friday May 13, 2022 Horry County Republican Party straw poll.
While straw polls are not scientific polling, they are a clear reflection of the mood of the nearly 300 local political activists who attended the event. The straw poll results established that, just as the political influence in local elections of Burroughs and Chapin 20 years ago, the Chamber cabal’s influence in local elections is clearly on a steep decline.
Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, the Chamber’s last, best hope of getting state funding for Interstate 73, received 47% of the votes cast while his opponent Harrison Musselwhite took 53%.
The Chamber’s two candidates for the SC 7th Congressional District had dismal showings with Tom Rice getting a miniscule 4% of the vote and Russell Fry only managing 12%. Both trailed co-leaders Ken Richardson and Garrett Barton who tied with 36% each.
Incumbent Rice was not expected to poll many votes since he is considered a traitor by the HCGOP since his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
Fry’s is a story of a campaign that can’t gain any traction. Despite the event attendees being overwhelmingly supportive of Trump, (I would estimate Trump would have received nearly 100% of the night’s votes if he were on the ballot), Fry, who Trump has endorsed in this race, could only manage 12%. This is an indication that Trump supporters do not automatically vote for candidates Trump endorses, especially in the case of Fry who they know to be a RINO in the Chamber Swamp.

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