HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Council got a shakeup after Tuesday’s primary election in South Carolina.
Two incumbent councilmembers lost their bids for re-election. District 7 representative Orton Bellamy lost his race to Tom Anderson. District 1 representative Harold Worley lost his race to Jenna Dukes, according to unofficial results.
“I’m very blessed with my own personal career,” Bellamy said. “I’ve served on the United States Army for 21 years, active duty. I had a very successful military career also 20 years with the State of South Carolina Probation Parole Board then four years on the county council, so I am very pleased with my track record.”
District 8 representative Johnny Vaught ran for council chair and finished in third place, according to unofficial results. Current chairman Johnny Gardner was forced into a runoff in two weeks against Mark Lazarus.
On Tuesday, Lazarus received about 6,000 more votes than Gardner. Vaught fell short of Gardner by about 1,400 votes, according to unofficial results.
Story continues below results
If Gardner loses the runoff, four of the 12 Horry County Council members will have lost their seats.
Lazarus was Horry County’s chairman between 2013 and 2018.
He’s focusing on fostering communication between all the municipalities, fixing road systems, and providing quality housing developments. He plans to talk face to face with voters leading up to the runoff.
Incumbent Johnny Gardner posted on Facebook Tuesday that he will focus on flood mitigation, road improvements and diversification in the economy. He said he doesn’t plan on changing a thing going into these next two weeks.
Gardner said now that the race is down to two people, he hopes the people vote to keep the county going in the right direction.
“The people were happy when they elected me,” Gardner said. “I think we’ve done a good job, we’ve focused on what the actual people wanted, public safety, smart growth, and those things are good for everybody. I’m going to keep doing it and we’ll see what they say.”
“Where the development is throughout our county and where we have the biggest problems and how we’re going to tackle it,” Lazarus said. “I’ve said all along, I don’t have all the answers but what I do have [is] the ability to bring people together, to find the right people to get the right answers to get things done.”
Vaught came in third after Tuesday’s election, which means he not only lost the chairman’s race but also will lose his council seat when his term expires.
“I figured I’d be in the runoff, so I’m really disappointed, I really am,” Vaught said. “I went hard at it and worked hard for it and I wanted it real bad, but it didn’t happen and that’s just the way things happen.”
District 2 representative Bill Howard won his race against Dean Richardson.
“I going to make more promises to increase public safety and more promises to continue with infrastructure increases so we can have better roads and stormwater,” Howard said. “I will make those promises, and I’m going to keep them.”
Early voting for June runoffs in Horry County starts June 22 and ends June 24 with the same hours and locations as the primary.
The runoff races will be held June 28.