Don’t count Horry County Councilman James Frazier out of the District 7 county council race in November.
Frazier, who has spent 34 years on the council, is running as a Democrat against the winner of the June 10, Republican primary between Liz Gilland and Mike Roberts. That person will face Frazier on Nov. 4.
“When I start campaigning, I go full-steam ahead,” Frazier said Monday afternoon. “I don’t have opposition in the primary, so I just kind of lay low.”
Frazier said he had several people stop him Monday and ask whether he was running for the District 7 seat after an article in
The Sun News – profiling Gilland and Roberts – incorrectly left Frazier out of the race. A correction appears on page 2A.
Gilland grew up with Frazier and worked alongside him for 16 years, and said she knows that if she wins the primary, she will have work to do.
“For me, just the thought of it is a bit uncomfortable because James is a friend,” Gilland said. “I knew him since we were in high school. I’ve known him most of my life... It’s never easy when you run against a friend, a real friend. But, I wanted to be back on council and I wanted to represent my hometown like I used to.”
She said re-districting in recent years brought all of Conway into District 7.
“On the other hand, James has been there 34 years,” Gilland said. “I think, just like I needed a break after 16 years because I was weary, I’m thinking James is twice as weary as I was and he needs a good break, too.”
Roberts hopes the redistricting will help him.
“James has had it pretty easy because he’s had no opposition,” Roberts said. “Twenty years ago, James’ district was 80 percent Democrat. Today, it’s 70 percent Republican. They added about 4,500 Republicans when they re-drew the lines.
Roberts said he has also known Frazier for years and looks forward to running a clean race if he wins the primary.
“It’s going to be a job and I hope I could win, but I could tell you this much, win or lose, I’m not going to go out there and talk trash about nobody if I don’t ever win another race,” Roberts said. “I’d rather lose that sucker than lose a friend.”
If Frazier wins in the fall, he will not only be serving his constituents for the next four years, but he’s also in line to be the next president of the South Carolina Association of Counties, a feat that has not been accomplished for an Horry Councilman since Jack Gerrald had the title in 1975.
Frazier was instrumental in bringing a recreation center to District 7, which was eventually named the James R. Frazier Community Center. He also worked to bring water and sewer service to his district years ago.
He said he wants another four years to continue to bring opportunities for residents of Horry County.
“I would want to continue to bring more jobs to the county,” Frazier said. “My thing is, anybody who needs help, I try to help them. I was taught that all my life and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”