Voters in District 9 will go to the polls Tuesday to decide who will represent them for the next four years on county council.
The runoff election is between Terry Fowler and Mark Causey.
Fowler is a retired Horry County police officer while Causey is a real estate broker.
That difference in jobs caused some of the citizens in the district to link Causey to the real estate development interests in the county.
However, I am not sure that distinction is correct in this race.
Fowler openly supported former council chairman Mark Lazarus against current council chairman Johnny Gardner in the 2018 council chairman race. No one on council was more associated with the development industry than Lazarus.
If employment is to be a determining factor in who is tied to developers, consider there are Fowler family employment connections to the Shep Guyton Law Firm, a firm intimately connected to the development industry in the county.
Shep Guyton was fined by the South Carolina Ethics Commission for his part in the $325,000 disbursal of campaign contributions to politicians at the local and state level who were involved in the process that resulted in the imposition of the Myrtle Beach Chamber’s Tourism Development Fee.
If one looks on the surface at associations that could be tied to the development industry in Horry County, Fowler’s are certainly more suspect than Causey’s.
The Fraternal Order of Police branch in the county endorsed a number of candidates in county elections for this primary cycle. Fowler, a former police officer, was not one of them. I expect this was because of Fowler’s support of Lazarus in 2018. Gardner was endorsed by the FOP and was certainly more supportive than Lazarus for changes that needed to happen with respect to pay and additional officers for the department.
The development industry has had a good election cycle this year. It was successful in getting Cam Crawford, Dennis Disabato and Gary Loftus reelected in the recent primaries. Republican primaries decide who will take office because of the lack of Democratic candidates in the November general election.