By Paul Gable
Responses to several recent articles in Grand Strand Daily about candidates for the Republican nomination in next June’s SC 7th Congressional District primary highlight the cry among local Republicans for the type of candidate they are likely to support.
That type is a candidate who stands for low taxes, limited government, respect for personal liberties and no special favors for special interests.
Candidates are no longer going to be able to get away with claiming to be low tax, limited government conservatives, their actions and records are going to have to prove they are.
The cry does not apply just to 7th Congressional District candidates. It is going to be applied to General Assembly candidates and candidates for local council offices. Republicans today want real conservatives.
This does not bode well for Russell Fry’s candidacy for Congress nor for his political consulting business associate Heather Crawford being reelected.
Both voted for the massive gas tax increase in the General Assembly several years ago as well as the state’s establishment of data warehouses and both have strongly supported the Interstate 73 boondoggle.
The gas tax increase, which has built up considerable excess revenue for the state while state roads and bridges remain in disrepair and the I-73 project which would benefit special interest coffers do not fit into the categories of low tax or denying favors to special interests, the data warehouses may be the most egregious with their possible intrusions on public liberties.
Writing about the data warehouses on thenerve.org website several years ago, Ashley Landess, President of the S. C. Policy Council said in part:
“The Legislature has, in stages, created a sort of “information central,” passing laws that create two data warehouses to pull in information from agencies for health care and social services, education and workforce.
“The goals of this system are nebulous, the privacy protections flimsy, and the possibilities literally limitless as to what could be collected and how it could be used by government officials and politicians.
“It’s bad enough that so much sensitive data will be in one place. Our state has a poor track record of protecting personal information. But the greatest cause for alarm are the underlying motives for creating this system, and the broad range of government bureaucrats and politicians who would have access to your data.”
When questioned about her vote for the data warehouses during her reelection campaign in 2020, Crawford attacked the messenger as being a member of a “dark money activist group”. Such a response is the standard ‘attack the messenger’ response to shift the conversation from a subject you want to avoid.
It is similar to Crawford calling local police and fire personnel “thugs” when she was acting as a consultant to the Mark Lazarus (another pseudo-conservative) campaign for reelection as county council chairman in 2018. More than any one other occurrence during that campaign, Crawford’s “thug” comment can be directly connected to Lazarus’ defeat.
The word is already out in political circles that Crawford will face serious opposition for reelection to her SC House seat in 2022.
Likewise, Fry is going to face difficulty in defending some of his House votes when questioned during the Congressional campaign.
And those two are not alone. Crawford’s husband Cam, Johnny Vaught, Dennis DiSabato and Bill Howard will “have some ‘splainin’ to do”, as Ricky Ricardo often said, about voting for the largest property tax increase in Horry County history, voting to reduce impact fees to 18.5% of the possible maximum, which hurts current residents of Horry County to appease special interests, and their continued support of the I-73 boondoggle among other questionable votes if they again seek reelection to county council.
As the cartoon accompanying this article says, ‘It’s time for Horry County Republicans to get their (voting) act together behind true low tax, personal liberty, limited government conservatives instead of the pseudo-conservatives now in office.