This story has been updated.
Local business owner Brenda Bethune is running for mayor of Myrtle Beach, and will announce in a speech at Nance Plaza on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Ann Dunham, owner of Executive Services, also plans to run for a city council seat, she confirmed Wednesday.
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Bethune, a native of Myrtle Beach who is the majority owner and board chair of food and beverage wholesaler Better Brands, Inc., has never before run for public office. She said if she is elected mayor she hopes to focus on spurring investment in Myrtle Beach by local developers and business owners.
“I approach things from a business perspective,” she said.
Bethune also was the chair of the board of the Children’s Museum of South Carolina for 15 years, until 2010. The nonprofit recently merged with Columbia-based EdVenture.
In January, the city announced it would partner with that group to build a new museum and library complex on the downtown superblock, which abuts Nance Plaza.
Bethune said she’s wary of that project.
“It’s not a done deal yet,” she said. “The buildings are still standing.”
The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corp. so far has paid more than $3 million on 12 parcels that will be bulldozed, and is in discussion to acquire two more that may be subject to eminent domain.
EdVenture’s president previously has said the museum could be finished as soon as 2019.
Dunham is a native of Florida who has lived in Myrtle Beach since 1976. She currently runs Executive Services, which works in “bookkeeping, fliers, public relations, business plans, and office rentals” for businesses, according to her campaign website.
She filed a fundraising report June 22 indicating she’s $1,000 of her own money for the campaign.
The platform on Dunham’s campaign website lists several focuses, including lower millage (property taxes), lower debt, reduced crime and “parking that works for all,” among other items.
“My personal preference is free parking, but I’m a little flexible with that,” Dunham said.
Her website also stresses “reduced crime, safe beaches and effective emergency services,” but Dunham declined to identify specific proposals for public safety.
Dunham is a frequent attendee of city council meetings and often speaks in opposition to the 1 percent sales tax meant for tourism promotion, called the “tourism development fee.” Eighty percent of the revenues from the tax go to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to use in out-of-market advertising, and 20 percent roll back property taxes for residents of Myrtle Beach.
Bethune faces incumbent John Rhodes, who is seeking a fourth term in the Nov. 7 election. Candidates cannot begin to file for the election until late summer, but many contenders begin campaigning earlier in order to raise enough money for the race.
Jay McDowell, a Carolina Forest resident, previously told The Sun News he will run for mayor as well. He would have to establish city residency within 30 days of the election to be eligible for the position.
He told The Sun News on Wednesday night that he is no longer running, citing high cost and the time involved in a council race.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no mayoral candidates have filed any fundraising reports for the 2017 election with the S.C. Ethics Commission, where political candidates must report their campaign receipts and expenditures quarterly.
City Councilmen Randal Wallace, Mike Lowder and Wayne Gray have all filed fundraising reports for the 2017 election.
Candidates must file initial fundraising reports within 10 days of raising or spending $500.