Allen throws hat into ring for Horry County Council chairman position

A group of 25 people gathered in the atrium of the Horry County Government and Justice Center on Thursday afternoon to hear County Councilman Al Allen officially announce his candidacy for County Council chairman.

Standing in front of a campaign sign with the phrase “Let’s roll!” stretched across the top, Allen finished his brief remarks by saying those words right back to the group.

“We are Horry County,” Allen said, to the sound of applause from supporters.

Allen’s announcement brings the number of chairman hopefuls to three, joining previously announced candidates Liz Gilland and Mark Lazarus. One of them is hoping to win a special election that will take place early next year to fill the seat soon to be vacated by 7th District Congressman-elect Tom Rice.

Allen’s ideas for the county, like his predecessor, center around employment. He said in order to grow Horry County’s economy, there must be less regulation on small businesses and a simplification of the zoning process.

If elected, he wants to be a chairman without prejudice who will work with other members of council.

“Leadership by any form has to be done by example,” Allen said.

He has served on County Council for six years and is the vice chairman.

Once Rice resigns, filing would open at noon on the third Friday after the chairman’s seat becomes vacant and stay open 10 days.

The primary election would be the 11th Tuesday – roughly three months – after Rice’s resignation date. The general election would be the 18th Tuesday, or more than four months, following the resignation.

Rice was elected as County Council chairman in 2010. The person elected will fill a term that expires in 2014.