MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Brenda Bethune will serve another four years as Myrtle Beach mayor after winning the office outright Tuesday.
Winning 55.9% of the vote, Bethune avoided a runoff, which she said she was expecting because of the fact there were five candidates in the race. She said Wednesday felt like day one of term number two though that’s not officially until January.
“To win by almost 60% percent against four other people, to me, was incredible, unexpected, but very exciting,” Bethune said.
Bethune said she was re-energized by Tuesday night’s win and thanks voters, the community and volunteers.
“My job is on the line every four years, so I think [winning] shows that the voters do believe in me and they trust me,” Bethune said. “To those that didn’t vote for me, I hope they will learn that my best interest is this city. My heart is with this city.”
Bethune added that she was “relieved” she did not have to face a runoff election because her runoff against longtime mayor John Rhodes in 2017 was “exhausting.”
“I’m just ready to get back to work, Bethune said. “I was actually excited to get back in here today. I’ve had a couple of meetings with the city manager and with others, and I’m ready to get back to a regular routine and get back to work.”
Bethune said she ran a “clean” campaign that was based on facts and focused on her accomplishments while in office.
“I looked at this as not a fight against anyone,” Bethune said. “My race was about me trying to educate people about what I have done and what I am going to continue to do.”
Bethune said she and Myrtle Beach City Council are eager to continue to work on projects they’ve started in the city. She said targeting specific parts of the city for improvement benefits the entire city.
“Including downtown revitalization, but also focusing on the revitalization of our boardwalk area and the oceanfront district.”
Her top priority is addressing the city’s shortage of police officers. Bethune said she and council hope to solve the issue before next summer. Council will receive the results of a study at the beginning of next year that will help them come up with more ideas.
“We have to get more police officers,” Bethune said. “We know that.”
Bethune said police departments nationwide are facing similar issues hiring officers. She adds that Myrtle Beach also has to work on retention because the city cannot afford to lose any more officers.
“We have to make sure that our police department has all of the tools needed to attract the right people but to keep them here.”