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Myrtle Beach Mayor: Three-Way Race

MARK McBRIDE JUMPS IN … Former Myrtle Beach, South Carolina mayor Mark McBride will reapply for his old job this November – setting up a three-way battle for this coastal executive office. McBride – who ran unsuccessfully for Myrtle Beach city council in 2015 – joins embattled incumbent John Rhodes…

MARK McBRIDE JUMPS IN …

Former Myrtle Beach, South Carolina mayor Mark McBride will reapply for his old job this November – setting up a three-way battle for this coastal executive office.

McBride – who ran unsuccessfully for Myrtle Beach city council in 2015 – joins embattled incumbent John Rhodes and businesswoman Brenda Bethune, who announced her candidacy last week.

Not surprisingly, McBride is campaigning on the issue of public safety – which is at the forefront of voters’ minds in the wake of the city being rocked by multiple waves of violence.

“We have three issues that are facing us,” McBride said in announcing his candidacy. “That’s public safety, public safety, and public safety.  There’s a simple solution I’ve been offering for the last two years.  There’s $10 million to hire 100 new officers, pay raises, and more help for Memorial Day.”

McBride made his mayoral announcement via a video posted to his Facebook page …

Does McBride have a chance?  We shall see … but we’d put his odds (and Bethune’s odds) higher than those of Rhodes, who defeated McBride in mayoral races in 2005 and 2009.

“He’s smarter than he’s given credit for,” one coastal observer told us.  “I’ve watched him for two years put together the (public safety) narrative that’s now taken hold.”

In addition to struggling to contain the criminal element within his city, longtime readers of FITSNews will remember Rhodes as being among those local politicians mixed up in the infamous “Coastal Kickback” – a notorious campaign finance scandal that has yet to see anything resembling a proper resolution.

Of course Rhodes benefits from “friendly relations” with the local news media.  Among them?  Sinclair Broadcasting, which paid him $4,000 to travel to Monte Carlo last October on “city business.”  Sinclair Broadcasting owns local television station WPDE TV 15 (ABC – Florence/ Myrtle Beach).  Rhodes is also backed by the uber-influential Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC), which has spent thousands of dollars on his international travel.

This website has written extensively about Myrtle Beach’s various issues in the past – questioning whether the city can continue powering the state’s tourism economy given the macroeconomic pressures it is facing.  From the beginning, Rhodes has counted himself among the fiscally liberal tax-and-spend local leaders who seem intent on killing the golden goose – as opposed to embracing the free market and championing a more diverse tourism model.

Nonetheless, local officials claim to have attracted 18 million visitors to the Grand Strand region of the Palmetto State last summer – which if true would represent a healthy 4.6 percent increase over the 17.2 million they claimed to have drawn in 2015.  However tourism tax data for the Grand Strand – published exclusively on FITSNews last November – showed a more modest uptick in revenue during the peak months of 2016 when compared to the previous year.

Bigger picture?  As we’ve repeatedly pointed out the Grand Strand simply isn’t evolving as a tourist destination – meaning it is likely to incur some significant monetary losses in the not-too-distant future if it doesn’t mix things up moving forward.

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