SC Politics

Another Ugly Horry County, South Carolina Election

Shocker, right?

A special election for a legislative district located in the heart of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is getting nasty as the finish line looms … a development which will shock no one who has followed Horry county politics for any period of time.

The battle between attorney Case Brittain and former Myrtle Beach mayor Mark McBride has devolved into a debate over political contributions allegedly made by the former to a number of Democratic politicians.

“This is the guy who is running as a Republican, that contributed almost $40,000 to Democrats to run against Republicans?” McBride asked on his Facebook page Monday. The jab was thrown less than 24 hours before polls opened in this race to fill a ballot slot that was vacated a month ago by the abrupt resignation of South Carolina state representative Alan Clemmons.

Prior to his resignation, Clemmons had represented S.C. House District 107 (.pdf) since 2003.

Well … sort of.

The diminutive politician spent a lot of his time away from home … advancing other interests. So we use the term “representation” loosely.

Anyway, Clemmons stepped down scarcely a month after defeating Brittain in a bruising GOP primary battle – ostensibly so he can be gifted by his former colleagues with a high-paying local appointment sometime in 2021. Because he waited so close to the November election to resign his office, there was not enough time to hold a special election to fill the unexpired portion of his term.

Which means the primary election tomorrow (Tuesday, August 18, 2020) is to determine who will replace Clemmons on the 2020 ballot.

It also means residents of this districts must go unrepresented when state lawmakers gather in Columbia, S.C. next month to pass the first state budget of the coronavirus era.

In addition to Brittain and McBride one Democrat – local substitute teacher Tony Cahill – has filed for the November election. So has Libertarian William Dettmerring.

Given the GOP lean of this district – which U.S. president Donald Trump carried with more than 61 percent of the vote in 2016 – the real battle is for the Republican nomination.

In an effort to drive the narrative about campaign contributions, supporters of McBride have put together a campaign video calling Brittain out …

(Click to view)

(Via: Facebook/ Mark McBride)

Wait … did that clip seriously include Dick Harpootlian?

Last time we checked, this maverick first-term Democratic state senator was drawing significant independent and GOP crossover support owing to his principled stands against crony capitalism and secretive spending within the state’s $30 billion annual budget.

Sounds like the sort of thing most voters – including most GOP primary voters – would appreciate.

Hell, as one Upstate conservative mega-donor recently told us Harpootlian is “the most Republican senator in Columbia.”

Anyway …

Brittain did not take kindly to McBride’s line of attack.

“If you know me, you know my long history of supporting Republican candidates and causes,” he responded on Facebook. “You also probably know my father has his own personal political beliefs that align more with Democrats. Mark McBride and his supporters know this too. Yet that doesn’t stop them from spreading lies and innuendo. It’s just who they are.”

Meanwhile, McBride has been bashed by a series of anonymous mailings taking issue with his record as mayor of Myrtle Beach from 1997-2005.

Turnout in this election is expected to be exceedingly low – with perhaps as few as five percent of registered voters casting ballots tomorrow.

Will McBride’s broadside work? Or will Brittain carry over the support he picked up during his recent primary campaign against Clemmons?

Stay tuned … we will know the answers to those questions very soon.




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