By Paul Gable
Republican challengers Mark Lazarus and Al Allen will square off Tuesday March 26th in a special election runoff for the party nomination for Horry County Council chairman.
The election will effectively decide the next council chairman as there is no Democratic candidate and a write-in campaign that could defeat the Republican nominee is not in the cards.
Lazarus led the first round voting with 41 percent of the vote to Allen’s 24.5 percent, which just squeaked out second place over first time candidate Debbie Harwell who finished with 24 percent.
The first round voting was most notable for the slightly over 8 percent of registered voters who showed up to vote at the polls making this one of the least attended elections in county history.
Turnout could be the key to victory in the second round.
If turnout remains in the 8 percent range, Lazarus should win going away as he should pick up a strong majority of the votes cast for Harwell in the first round.
Allen’s chances get better the smaller the turnout because his base, reputed to be mostly Tea Party, will vote but probably hit a ceiling level with the 3316 he garnered in the first round.
To a great extent this has been an unexciting election, but it did have a bizarre twist added to it recently.
Media reports of an alleged threat to Allen appeared late this week.
Allegedly, Allen received an e-mail Saturday March 16th that read: “You must have been killed by now (God is your favor) but due to my investigation I hold but you will be trace and be killed the next six hours. Your life has been paid, no way to get out of my sniper why my three men in control to monitor your movement.”
Supposedly, Horry County police are investigating the origins of the e-mail.
Using the word bizarre is probably much too tame for the above message. To call it illiterate is much too kind, even for the Redneck Riviera or someone who speaks English as a fourth, or lower, language.
We’ll see what the HCPD turns up, if anything, but it smacks more of campaign hijinks than any real threat.
Getting your name out is what special elections are all about. Any publicity is good publicity, even if it takes literacy to its lowest common denominator.