Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice traveled throughout the Grand Strand and Pee Dee announcing his candidacy for South Carolina’s Congressional District 7.
He began his day-long tour on Front Street in Georgetown and continued visiting with residents in Myrtle Beach and other sections of the newly-formed district.
Rice, an Horry County resident since age 4, said he has practiced law since 1984.
He was endorsed by a former Republican representative for District 6, John Napier.
Napier said Rice is an “excellent candidate” and has the training to do the job.
Rice was elected as a Republican to the Horry County Council chairman’s seat in 2010.
Rice said he wants to run for Congressional District 7 because he feels that the area has been left behind by the federal government.
“Our unemployment is too high and our wages are too low,” Rice said. “We’re last in line for infrastructure.”
Rice said his background as a tax lawyer makes him qualified to deal with the current “economic morass.”
He said he has roots in Georgetown, since his grandfather once ran a clothing company in town and lived on the corner of Duke and Screven for many years.
He said he is a fiscal conservative, is pro-life and would like to “get rid of Obamacare.”
“He’ll be what we need,” Napier said. “He is a superb man.”
Rice is not the only candidate running for Congressional District 7.
The field has stretched to include a large number of people, including several women and many residents from other parts of the state.
Dick Withington, a Republican from Horry County and S.C. Rep. Ted Vick, D-Chesterfield, both announced their candidacy for Congressional District 7.
Rep. Thad Viers, R-Myrtle Beach, is also running for the seat.
Other candidates for Congressional District 7 are:
n Mande Wilkes of Myrtle Beach- Republican
n Renee Culler of Murrells Inlet - Republican
n Andre Bauer - Republican
n Edward Karabees - Republican
n Jim Mader - Republican
n Luke Rankin - Republican
n Gary Stephens - Republican
n Parnell Diggs - Democrat
Those who study political science say it is not surprising there is such a large group interested in running for office.
“Obviously, you have an open seat in a new district, immediately there is going to be all sorts of interest,” said Jack Riley, a political science professor at Coastal Carolina University. “I wouldn’t be surprised by a large number of candidates.”
The large pool of Republicans shows that the state, and District Seven, is comprised of a large number of Republican voters.
The trend in South Carolina has been more toward the Republican Party in the past several decades, Riley said.
Wilkes has said she will run on a campaign of shrinking government and old-fashioned values.
Viers also said he is in favor of less government control and cutting federal spending.
Withington ran for the 1st Congressional District in 2010 as a Democrat. He ended that campaign, however, to announce that he was running as a Republican for the 5th District of Horry County Council. Culler 46, who is a native of Georgetown County, has a background in chemistry and sales that she believes could be beneficial to the job.
She currently is a Realtor with Beach Realty in Murrells Inlet.
By Kelly Marshall Fuller
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