By Paul Gable
A 23 year old first time candidate with deep pockets mixed with a veteran, but questionable, political consultant is creating quite a buzz in Horry County Council District 5.
At least that is the talk on the street about the candidacy of young Tyler Servant, a political novice who has outraised every other candidate in the county running for local or state office including some multi-term incumbents.
Much of the fundraising success can probably be credited to the long term business relationships of Servant’s father and grandfather in the southern Horry County real estate market. Some also has to do with the Dunes Club card room crowd, especially the group that contributes generously to Tom Rice, backing the Servant candidacy for some reason.
The first impression of many veteran political observers who saw the fundraising invitation for last week’s Servant fundraising event, with its Platinum, Gold and Silver categories was – “They’re trying to buy this election.” But why?
The event was sponsored by the South Atlantic Bank, the institution from which consecutively numbered cashier’s checks were purchased, allegedly by a host of LLC’s, for 2009 campaign donations to Myrtle Beach city council candidates, county legislative delegation incumbents and gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett.
Successful as he has been raising money, Servant has been invisible at local political gatherings. He has been noticeably absent from political forums where all candidates in District 5 were invited to speak and answer questions. It appears the only events he attends are closely choreographed fundraisers.
This is almost a copy of the 1982 congressional campaign of Robin Tallon, by proxy.
Speaking of choreography, Servant did attend the candidate forum filmed last week by WPDE accompanied by his father, campaign consultant and a campaign manager hired out of Washington, D.C.
According to several sources at the filming, Servant was the only candidate to show up with notes from which he read answers to all the questions. Sounds like the George W. Bush “stay on the message” gig – don’t let the candidate go off extemporaneously on his own.
The consultant is another matter – none other than Robert Cahaly of Trafalgar Group. This would be the same Cahaly who was involved with the ethically challenged campaign for Lt. Governor Ken Ard, which caused Ard to resign from office. Read Here: http://www.fitsnews.com/2012/01/30/ken-ard-have-briefcase-will-travel/
Or how about the Robo Call scam that included a number of S.C. House races including one for House Speaker Bobby Harrell. Read Here: http://www.fitsnews.com/2010/11/02/sled-release-warrants-issued-for-robo-calls/
If history really does predict the future, we should see some interesting happenings over the final two weeks of the primary campaign for Horry County Council District 5.
A well-funded, but invisible, neophyte candidate mixed with a high-priced, no holds barred political consultant for a county council race?
What is so important about the District 5 council seat to warrant all these factors coming together?
Doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Is this just about a strategy of giving Servant what his handlers consider his best strategy to win or, considering some of the players, is there more behind his candidacy than meets the eye?