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Politics: Voters narrow their choices after forum

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Rebecca King of Kings Creek didn’t have any favorites when she walked into the forum for Republican 7th Congressional District candidates Tuesday night.

The event, which attracted about 350 people to the new Waccamaw High School Auditorium, was the first time she and her husband, Charles, had heard many of the candidates speak. The experience left her a lot more confident about the decision she’ll make at the polls June 12.

“There are three or four now that I’m going to have to do some research on and make a decision,” King said. “It’s a big responsibility and I’m very glad they had the debate tonight. It was a really eye-opening thing for my husband and I.”

She liked what she heard from Tom Rice, André Bauer and Jay Jordan. “I thought Katherine Jenerette did a good job on certain questions,” she added.

“Those are the ones I’m kind of thinking about, but I think we as the voters have got a really big responsibility ahead of us, because coming to this debate tonight makes you realize there’s so much talent out there and so many of them have so many good ideas. We really are going to have to do a lot more research and really search in our hearts to see which one we want for our 7th District, which is such an important district for our communities.”

The chairman of the Georgetown County Republican Party, Jim Jerow, said he hoped the forum was a help for voters as they try to pick the best person for the job from a large pool. It was, according to a number of voters.

Unlike King, Cheryl Gause of Georgetown said she did have a favorite going into the event. However, after 90 minutes of listening to candidates talk about the issues, her opinion had changed.

“He definitely went to the bottom of my list and these four came out on top,” she said.

The four — Rice, Jordan, Chad Prosser and Randal Wallace — impressed her with “straightforward answers and their ability to speak up and talk in a commanding voice and clear thoughts.”

“All four of them struck me in the way they answered. What they said went along with the way I feel,” she said, referring particularly to opinions she heard on cutting the deficit, improving education and creating jobs.

The forum helped Bill Hills of Murrells Inlet narrow his choice down to four, though he didn’t name his picks.

He liked that the event let him see the candidates under pressure in front of a crowd, “which is how they’re going to have to do their jobs ... It was just really good to see, and get a better idea about who is going to be able to work with other people to accomplish their goals,” he said.

Without a doubt, some of the candidates performed “a whole lot better than others,” he added.

“This is not an endorsement of any of them at all, because some of the folks who did real well aren’t necessarily my favorite,” he said. But he thought Bauer, Jordan, Prosser, Rice and Wallace were the winners of the night. “I like the way they expressed themselves and the conviction that I feel like they have about wanting to do the right thing for no real personal gain. I just honestly do think they have our best interest at heart,” he said.

Linda Caswell of the River Club said she started out supporting Wallace. “I liked some of his answers, but I felt Chad Prosser and André Bauer came out very strong,” she said.

She was pleased to see so many others in the audience. “You need to meet these people and see if this is a person you want to have represent you,” Caswell said.

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