Four new faces win Tuesday’s Horry County Council primary

jrodriguez@thesunnews.comJune 11, 2014 

— Unofficial election results for Horry County Council show that an incumbent apparently was unseated, a former Horry County Council chairwoman was defeated and at least three newcomers prevailed at Tuesday’s Horry County Council primary election.

Councilman Brent Schulz has represented District 2 for the last seven years and was narrowly defeated by Bill Howard by a count of 957-924.

It would be up to the county’s election commission to order a recount if it believes the results are less than 1 percent from each other. The commission will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Horry County Government and Justice Center to certify the results.

If the results are certified, this would be the first time Howard won an election after trying multiple times for Myrtle Beach mayor.

“I’ve been wanting to give back to the community for a long time,” Howard said late Tuesday after hearing about the unofficial results. “There’s just an unbelievable amount of needs for roads and stronger police force protection. We need better jobs. We are a tourist town, but that doesn’t pay our workers much money.”

In District 5, the four-way race will end in a runoff between Clif Smith and Tyler Servant, both from Murrells Inlet. The runoff will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 24. Servant gathered 1,047 votes, while his opponents Clif Smith received 657, Reese Boyd III got 625 votes and Chuck Ottwell took in 388 votes.

In District 7, insurance agent Mike Roberts beat former Councilwoman Liz Gilland, and credits putting out signs, knocking on doors and making appearances as an explanation as to how he beat the well-known politician.

“I worked my behind off,” Roberts said. “I’ve been working 12, 15 hours a day, sometimes 16 hours a day. Putting up signs, calling people on the phone... I’m still going to work hard.”

Roberts will take on veteran Councilman James Frazier in the fall.

“I don’t have any money, so I can’t outspend [James Frazier], but I can outwork him,” Roberts said.

In District 8, Johnny Vaught garnered 913 votes and his opponents Candace Howell and Daniel Cochran received 536 and 320 votes, respectively.

Vaught has been attending council meetings and committee meetings since he announced his candidacy Jan. 16. He said he plans to continue to do that to make sure he represents his constituents properly.

“I am not going to stop going to council meetings,” Vaught said. “That was not a ploy to win votes. I came to council meetings so I would be ready when I started. I planned on winning when I started, honestly.”

Sandy Martin, director of Horry County Voter Registration, said there were a few machine calibration issues, but no widespread issues.

“It's a machine here and there,” Martin said Tuesday afternoon. She said the problems were fixed rapidly by 20 officials who roved throughout the county to address any issues. “They’re close by and they get (repairs) done fairly quickly.”

As for turnout, Martin said it’s was mixed with a moderate turnout in some polling locations and “a lot of turnout in other places.”

Fourteen percent of the county’s 173,552 voters turned out for Tuesday’s primary, which mirrors the 2012 primary.

Tuesday’s scorching heat indices, which reached 97 in both Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach and 102 in Conway, marked the hottest day since last summer. Actual temperatures reached the upper 80s at the beach and 95 in Conway, said Rick Kreitner, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or on Twitter @TSN_JRodriguez.

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