Why Won’t Rice and Fry Agree to a Second Candidate Debate?

By Paul Gable

Word has reached GSD of an attempt by the Myrtle Beach Republican Women’s Club to organize a debate among all seven candidates for the SC 7th Congressional District Republican nomination.

According to information received by GSD from those trying to arrange the event, neither Tom Rice nor Russell Fry want any part of another debate (one was held in Florence two weeks ago). Rice, reportedly, claimed a scheduling conflict with the proposed May 27th date for the event, but declined to specify what that conflict was.

Fry, reportedly, said he would debate, but only if Rice was included.

It makes one wonder if the campaigns of Rice and Fry are colluding behind the scenes to ensure a second debate does not take place. One claims a scheduling conflict while the other sets a condition he will not show up without the other.

Former President Donald Trump, of course, wants to see incumbent Rep. Tom Rice defeated for the 7th Congressional District Republican nomination because of Rice’s January 13, 2021, vote to impeach the former president.

Trump endorsed state representative Russell Fry, in the SC 7th Congressional District race, apparently without vetting any of the other candidates in the race, merely on the recommendations of Gov. Henry McMaster and SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick.

However, in picking Fry, Trump endorsed a politician just as mired in “The Swamp” of Horry County politics as Rice on the recommendation of two other “swamp” politicians, McMaster and McKissick.

Both Rice and Fry are backed by the Myrtle Beach Chamber associated cabal because of their unflinching support, along with McMaster, of the Interstate 73 boondoggle project. They are literally two peas from the same flawed cabal pod.

Based on recent primary results in other states, it can be concluded an endorsement by the former president does not guarantee victory for candidates who are known by voters to be flawed.

In the past 10 days, James Pillen defeated Trump endorsed Charles Herbster for the Republican nomination for Governor of Nebraska. Incumbent Governor Brad Little of Idaho trounced Trump endorsed incumbent Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin for the Republican nomination for Governor of Idaho. Trump endorsed Incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn was defeated in his bid for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina.

And Trump’s most high-profile endorsee to be challenged to date, television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, is fighting to hold on to a slim 1,100 vote lead (out of nearly 1.4 million votes cast) over Dave McCormick for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania. As vote counting nears an end, the ultimate winner is still undecided.

With his high personal profile and Trump’s endorsement, Oz should have easily swept this race, but such is not the case because of Oz’s flaws. Oz is considered a carpetbagger by many Pennsylvania Republican voters and his dual citizenship, U.S. and Turkey, certainly does not yell “America First” to voters.

Whether Oz wins or loses by a razor thin vote margin, Trump cannot claim any sort of victory in the result.

Next week, it is expected incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who Trump vowed to oust from office, will easily defeat Trump endorsed former Sen. Dave Perdue for the Republican nomination for governor of Georgia.

None of these results give any comfort to Fry with his many flaws and “swamp” connections and the apparent inability of his campaign to gain any real momentum from the Trump endorsement.

The debate in Florence two weeks ago, among five candidates for the 7th Congressional District Republican nomination, included Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson, Dr. Garrett Barton and Barbara Arthur as well as Rice and Fry. Two other candidates in the race, former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride and Spencer Morris were not invited to the debate.

Opinions expressed by voters to Grand Strand Daily said Richardson was the clear debate winner in Florence.

Is it that Rice and Fry are afraid to have their flaws exposed again on a debate stage?

Is it that neither Rice nor Fry want to be shown up again by Richardson in a debate?

Or is it that the two campaigns are working to get the preferred Chamber cabal result of a Rice and Fry runoff for the nomination where the Chamber wins either way?

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