By Paul Gable
Signs opposing the candidacy of Russell Fry for the Republican nomination for the SC 7th Congressional District are going up all over Horry County today.
The order for the signs was made by businessman Drexel Drew after Fry’s candidacy was endorsed by former President Donald Trump last week.
“I am a long time Trump supporter and will probably vote for him if he runs again,” said Drew. “But the endorsement of Fry is just politics as usual around here. Fry is nothing but Rice 2.0.”
Drew said he doesn’t believe most of the Pro-Trump people in the 7th Congressional District will buy into the Fry endorsement.
“If it’s not right for the people,” Drew said. “You don’t have to vote the way you’re told to. Trump was not given good information about local politics. It wasn’t a smart decision on his part to endorse Fry.”
Drew said he is tired of the same old buddy system and the attempts by the Myrtle Beach Mafia to control local politics.
“Putting out the signs was something I wanted to do to help get the truth out there,” said Drew.
Drew does not stand alone in the Pro-Trump, Anti-Fry camp.
According to sources with knowledge of the Fry campaign, the Trump endorsement has not immediately increased fund raising to anywhere near the level the campaign expected and a Fry campaign event held last week after the endorsement only drew a minimal number of people in attendance.
Local political activist and social media influencer Chad Caton was present at an event at the Mar a Lago Trump Resort on the day the Fry endorsement by Trump was announced.
“I was talking to one of Trump’s top advisers,” said Caton. “He said to me that the Tennessee endorsement was a disaster and asked what I thought of the endorsement of Fry. I told him the endorsement in Tennessee was a big mistake but the endorsement of Fry was a disaster.”
Myrtle Beach native and businesswoman Karon Mitchell is a longtime member of the Myrtle Beach Republican Women’s Club. Mitchell attended a meeting of the club last week at which several candidates spoke.
“One of the speakers was Garrett Barton,” said Mitchell. “When he mentioned Fry’s name the whole room shouted NO! I don’t know of anyone in the club who is going to vote for Fry.”
Mitchell referred to the recent private ballot letter passed around among Horry County Legislative Delegation members in support of the nomination of Alan Clemmons for Master-in-Equity, instead of the public vote required by state law, as an example of the type of politics Fry participates in already.
According to state law, votes such as that must be held in the open during a public meeting of the delegation. For reasons of their own, a number of members of the delegation chose to ignore the law and sign the letter. It should be noted that Reps. Kevin Hardee and William Bailey and Sen. Greg Hembree refused to sign the letter.
“You cannot vote in secret for that type of nomination,” said Mitchell. “By signing the letter Fry proved he is not for election integrity or judicial integrity. If you break the law, I don’t think that’s a candidate the people will vote for.”
“These people (the legislators) want to pass out favors to old friends,” added Mitchell. “Haven’t we had enough of that in Horry County?”
The Drew, Caton and Mitchell statements are just a small example of the innumerable negative comments being heard about the Trump endorsement of Fry.
Loyalty to Trump and his policies remains strong in the 7th Congressional District. But, Trump’s endorsement of Russell Fry will not help Fry’s election chances because the voters know too much about Fry’s strong ties to the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and its associated cronies.
Trump has recently been receiving pushback from devoted MAGA supporters over a number of his recent endorsements. As one nationally prominent Republican operative recently summed up Trump’s endorsements, “He’s doing endorsements for candidates he doesn’t know in races he knows nothing about.”
Endorsement of a ‘candidate he doesn’t know in a race he knows nothing about’ certainly sums up Trump’s endorsement of Fry.