Voters’ Primary Choice – Representative Democracy or Oligarchy

By Paul Gable

Horry County voters will have distinct choices in a number of local and state primary races this year as challenges to incumbents continue to rise.

Those choices simply put are a decision by voters on whether they support candidates who represent the needs of the citizens or candidates who represent the oligarchy who wish to continue to control government for their own self-interest.

Eight weeks remain until primary election day for voters to make their choices.

For the past few weeks there has been talk that the primaries would be postponed until later in the summer. This does not appear to be the case as the majority of the General Assembly members believe holding the primaries in June will give them an advantage in the primaries as incumbents.

Last week, the General Assembly added an additional $15 million to the state contingency fund to help make voting “safer” for voters. So, it looks certain that June 9th is the date to vote in the primaries.

Campaigning directly with voters will be difficult as long as the current coronavirus restrictions remain in place. It will be important for voters to watch what is posted in social media and weigh the information being presented.

In general, it is my opinion that the candidates who will best represent voters against the fading but still influential power structure in the county are challengers, not incumbents. Not in every case, because a few incumbents have served the best interests of the county citizens, but in most cases.

Several S. C. House primaries come quickly to mind to illustrate the above points.

Case Brittain will provide a formidable challenge to 18 year incumbent Alan Clemmons in S. C. House District 107.

Clemmons is one of the elected officials the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce can always count on to do its bidding. There has been no louder voice than Clemmons for Interstate 73, a project that is years off and will immediately benefit only some of his donors in the local area. Then we have Clemmons’ many trips to the Middle East, funded by his campaign chest.

Brittain is a Horry County native and local attorney. He is tired of seeing Horry County be a donor county to other areas of the state, always an afterthought when it comes to state funding for schools, roads and the like. He wants to put the “Grand” back into the Grand Strand. It would be nice to have a representative from Myrtle Beach who worries more about the citizens in his district than the current one who spends more time with citizens of Israel and Egypt than those at home.

S. C. House District 68 whose incumbent Heather Ammons Crawford is finishing her fourth term in office has drawn multiple challengers. Crawford will have to face Mark Epps in the Republican Primary with the winner facing two challengers in the fall election. It’s been a long time since a four term incumbent House member has faced three challengers, which says something about Crawford’s lack of effectiveness for the citizens of her district, while joining Clemmons on jaunts to the Middle East.

Epps is a 24-year retired Army combat veteran who understands the meaning of leadership, service and teamwork. A native of the Socastee area, Epps returned to Horry County after retiring from the Army. He said the citizens of District 68 have been unserved for the past eight years and he will change that if elected.

A final interesting race is S. C. House District 105 where incumbent Kevin Hardee has worked to serve the citizens of his district. Hardee and Rep. William Bailey of House District 104 have been actively working to find solutions to mitigate the flooding experienced in Horry County in recent years, rather than posing for photo ops as some of our other representatives have done.

Hardee has drawn opposition from former newspaper publisher Steve Robertson. It is unclear how this has come about, but Robertson wrote an editorial several years ago strongly supporting Interstate 73 funding instead of more local needs for public safety and infrastructure. Is he another Chamber oriented candidate?

Over the next eight weeks in the run-up to the primaries, Grand Strand Daily will have a lot to say about local elections and candidates and which ones appear to be truly running in the spirit of service to the public, not special interests.

link to Case Brittain video:

link to Mark Epps video:



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