Tag: Republican Primary

Lazarus’ Last Desperate Gasp for a Win

During the last several months the Mark Lazarus campaign has tried everything to change the history of his previous term as county chairman and to present a false image of Lazarus as a successful leader, which of course he was not.
That is unless you count getting the entire county work force mad at you; spending county revenue on a project that should be paid for by the state and federal governments if it is to be built at all and allowing unrestricted development to outpace the local infrastructure in roads, stormwater mitigation and public services as successful accomplishments.
As a last-ditch effort to pull out victory, the Lazarus campaign resorted to a tactic that was successful for Luke Rankin two years ago. It found a PAC to spend dark money for a hit piece on Gardner.
However, instead of the outrageous false and defamatory accusations made about Rankin’s opponent John Gallman two years ago, the one against Gardner is barely a whimper.
It was much less of a thing than the attempt Lazarus, Chris Eldridge and Arrigo Carotti tried to pull to keep Gardner from taking office as chairman four years ago only speaks to how clean Gardner has been.
Four years ago, it was a completely false memo about fictional allegations all, apparently, the figment of Carotti’s imagination. The supposed source Carotti said gave him the initial information for his five-page memo called the memo “mostly fiction” after the Carotti’s attempt at being an author went public and a SLED investigation found no credibility in anything Carotti wrote.

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Last Minute Swamp Tricks in 7th Congressional District Race

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.

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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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Howard Spreading False Narrative of his Record in Campaign for Reelection

Horry County incumbent District 2 council member Bill Howard is another spinning creative reworking of history to influence voters in next week’s Republican Primary.
Howard tries to present himself as a council member who works for the people, but reading his campaign disclosure reports it is apparent that Howard is funded by the same developer and tourism cabal interests who also fund Mark Lazarus, Jenna Dukes, Johnny Vaught and Carla Schuessler to name a few.
In a recent mailer, Howard listed among his accomplishments, “Working hard to keep the budget balanced and keeping property taxes low. No increase.”
Howard is on record voting for the largest tax increases in Horry County history – 7.2 mils plus stormwater fee and road maintenance fee increases in 2015 and 7.5 mils and another stormwater fee increase in 2021. This is hardly the work of a council member bragging about “no increase.”
Howard listed another accomplishment as being “proactive in addressing flooding problems.” However, it its rating of the voting records of county council members on flood mitigation legislation , Horry County Rising rated Howard and Vaught tied for the bottom position.

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Cassidy or Schuessler, the Choice in House District 61

There is a distinct choice between the two candidates for the Republican nomination for House District 61, the new S.C. House district in Horry County.
Carla Schuessler is currently office manager of a full-service law firm. She is a former chairman of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
John Cassidy is a small business owner in Conway with a successful printing business over a number of years.
One significant difference between the two candidates that stands out from their campaign disclosure reports is where they spend their campaign money.
Schuessler sent out a mailer recently promoting her qualifications for office.
While claiming to be an advocate and leader for the local area, Schuessler’s mailer points out how Horry County continues to be a donor county to the state government. One sentence is particularly striking in its content:
“We need a leader and an advocate who will make sure that more of our tax dollars are spent at home and invested in our communities.”
Studying Schuessler’s pre-election campaign expenditures shows a total of $29,238 spent in round numbers. Of this total, a whopping 85% has been spent with out of area vendors.
Of Cassidy’s $26,529 spent on his campaign, a total of 82% has been spent with local vendors.

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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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Which Candidate is Best Qualified to Lead Horry County School Board?

The race for the Republican nomination for Horry County School Board Chairman has contrasts among the candidates that should be looked at.
School boards are under attack nationwide in a concerted effort by the Club for Growth to change the makeup of school boards throughout the country for its own goals. Unfortunately, that effort has little to do with what is best for students.
Current school board member David Cox brings 14 years serving on the board, eight years as the member for District 9 and six as the current member for District 4. Cox has the overwhelming support of current board members in his run for chairman. Cox has the longest current continuous service on the school board.
Current school board member for District 6, Helen Smith, returned to the board in 2018 after a 16-year hiatus. Smith previously served as District 6 member from 1982-1996 and as board chairman from 1996-2002. Needless to say, much has changed in Horry County schools since she ended her term as chairman 20 years ago.
The third candidate for school board chairman, Darrell Ricketts, brings the most interesting curriculum vitae to the race.
Ricketts is retiring as a teacher at Socastee High School this year. However, his tenure in Horry County Schools is checkered.
Ricketts was once the principal at Aynor High School until he was caught changing the grades of over 20 students in order to make school performance look better. When that issue came to light, Ricketts was fired from his principal position and his principal certification by the S. C. Department of Education was terminated. The state left his teacher certification in place allowing him to serve as an agricultural education teacher at Socastee High School.

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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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Signs that Jenna Dukes Politics are Ugly

Despite putting a smiling face on all her campaign advertising, Jenna Dukes politics are proving to be the ugly, anything goes type of campaign that avoids reality like the plague.
Funded by the development and tourism interests, Dukes tried to play the nearly $100,000 in campaign donations that jump started her campaign as a signal that the citizens want a change in Horry County Council District 1.
The citizens have little to do with that amount. A campaign disclosure report filed with the SC Ethics Commission shows them to be the development and tourism industries, the Cabal as I call them, to be the ones who want incumbent Harold Worley defeated.
The first mailer from the Dukes campaign to voters appears to be a product of polling that identifies issues that most concern voters. So, a mailer is designed that promises to address these identified issues even though half of them do not fall under the purview of county council.
She promises to ‘fight’ for additional funding to raise teacher salaries and to provide students with safe and effective learning environments, both of which are issues for the Horry County School Board, not county council.
Dukes also promises to coordinate with healthcare providers to increase healthcare services throughout the county, even though its county council she’s running for, not applying for a job with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Why not address real issues that actually concern many of the voters in District 1 and throughout the county?

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Fry’s Campaign Becomes More Unhinged

We are in the middle of the ‘silly season’ of campaigning and no campaign has been sillier than Russell Fry’s.
His campaign ads and constant pleas for donations have to be the most pathetic I have experienced in many years of covering politics.
I have said before that his campaign is filled with terminological inexactitudes about his history and voting record. That’s the nice way of saying he’s lying.
Of course, political ethics require the only thing to be true in any political ad, mailer or other solicitation is who paid for it.
From his opening cartoon character ad through his tale of growing up in a house with no heat to his most recent tale of having nothing for dinner but a can of peas to share with his father, he called it “splitting pees” when he posted it, the Fry ad campaign has been bad, bad, BAD!
I have had a number of people ask what is the purpose of Fry’s ads. The answer remains unclear. One speculated Fry was trying to gain some kind of rapport with voters of humble origin.
Maybe Fry believes this story of growing up in a home with no heat and having nothing but half a can of peas for dinner gives him a Lincolnesque stature.
Students of American history are certainly aware that Abraham Lincoln grew up poor. But even Lincoln, whose childhood was nearly 200 years before Fry’s, had heat in his humble cabin. We know that because of the stories of Lincoln studying by the light of fire in the fireplace.

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