State Rep. William Bailey announces exploratory committee to run for Tom Rice’s seat

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Logo for William Bailey’s exploratory committee (Source: William Bailey)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — A state representative is throwing his hat into the ring for U.S. Rep. Tom Rice’s seat.

South Carolina State Rep. William Bailey announced Tuesday that he has formed an exploratory committee for a potential run for Congress in the 7th District.

“In times like these, we need a strong conservative voice in Washington to represent the people of the 7th District,” Bailey said in the announcement. “It’s now obvious to everyone that we do not have that voice.”

Current Rep. Tom Rice has come under fire by local GOP leaders for voting to impact President Donald Trump following a violent Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

In the announcement, Bailey said he’s received calls about running for the seat and that they’ve said Rice has become a “major disappointment” to the Republican Party.

“With the socialist Democrats now in control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate we need someone who will stand up and fight for conservative values, not vote to impeach them,” Bailey said in the announcement. 

Bailey was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2018 and re-elected in 2020. He was previously the director of public safety for the City of North Myrtle Beach.

The announcement comes a day after the New York Times reported that both Ken Richardson, chairman of Horry County Schools, and former Mayor Mark McBride have become potential rivals for the U.S. House seat in the primary. 

The Times’ report on the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment said Richardson told them Rep. Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, is “going to be primaried.” Richardson is leaning toward running against Rice and called his constituency “Trump country,” according to the article.

News13 reached out to Richardson, who said his only focus right now is on Horry County Schools.

“My political future is second to doing my job as chairman of Horry County Schools and getting the kids back in school safely,” he said. “I don’t see a reason to discuss something two years away with all that we are facing today.”

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