You’ll find 14 candidates, 9 Republican and 5 Democrats lined up to run in the June primary election for the new 7th Congressional District that has been established in Horry County and the Pee Dee. On the other hand, the incumbents who hold many state legislative offices and many municipal elected offices are unopposed.
The reason for the lack of candidates at the state and local level can be attributed
to a number of factors, not the least of which is the fact that being a state or local elected official is a lot of hard work for relatively little money. Besides, those positions don’t have the cache’ or glamor of being an honest to goodness US Congressman.
The list of congressional candidates includes veteran politicians who don’t seem able to get politics out of their blood and no amount of telling them they have no chance to win will deter them. At the top of the GOP polling is former Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, followed by Horry County council chairman Tom Rice and former council chairman Chad Prosser. Another former council chairman, Liz Gilland, has announced she will seek a legislative seat. On the other hand, three well-known residents have bowed out. Mande Wilkes, Thad Viers and most recently, former Coastal Carolina football coach David Bennett.
A large field of candidates for a congressional seat, especially one that has no incumbent, is not unusual anywhere in the country, but the 7th district is virgin territory, making it very attractive to those who think they can fill the bill…especially since there are so many other candidates in the race to split the vote totals. Of course, runoffs seem assured.
Another interesting aspect of our local General Election is the almost complete lack of challengers for major elective offices. Horry County Auditor Lois Eargle is unopposed as are Clerk of Court Melanie Huggins, County Coroner Robert Edge, County Sheriff Phil Thompson and County Treasurer Roddy Dickinson. On the County council, Gary Loftus, Bob Grabowski, Paul Prince, and Jody Prince are all unopposed incumbents and Mary Henry is unopposed so far for the District 3 seat. On the school board, only district 5 has more than one candidate.
At least the incumbents in all of these races know what they’re getting into since they’ve already been there and done that. It’s a safe bet that the candidates for the congressional seat don’t have a clue and most of them have stars in their eyes. Let’s hope we elect one who isn’t blinded by that.