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Politics: Candidates expect to spend more on local races

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Although he knew he would have opposition, Bob Anderson didn’t plan to spend much on his campaign for a second term on Georgetown County Council. But things changed.

“My wife and I did the whole thing last time,” he said. “That was a different team I was playing.”

He faces a challenge from Steve Goggans, an architect who led the campaign against a plan to remove the paved median from Highway 17 in the Pawleys Island business district. “I knew Steve would have a lot of money behind him because folks are riled up by this median,” Anderson said.

The first quarter financial report with the S.C. Ethics Commission that Goggans filed last week shows he has just $219. Anderson has $2,043. They are on the ballot in June’s GOP primary.

“We’ve gotten more money in since we did the report,” Goggans said. “A lot of people have pledged.”

His spending will help him get the word out that the race isn’t just about the median project. He needs to build name-recognition and change the view of him as “the median guy,” he said.

“Awareness is going to take a little bit more money than you might expect in a County Council race,” Goggans said. He declined to name a target figure.

Anderson didn’t want to say how much he expects to raise, either. He has hired Tom Swatzel, a former District 1 council member, to run his campaign. “He gave me a budget,” Anderson said. “That number was a high number. It knocked me out of my seat.”

He had two contributions of $500 in the first quarter, according to his campaign finance report: from Nina Kolczynski, a neighbor in Heritage Plantation, and Bill Otis, who is mayor of Pawleys Island.

“Bob Anderson was a steadfast supporter of Don’t Box the Neck,” Otis said. He was instrumental in keeping WalMart off the Waccamaw Neck.”

He got $100 each from Howard Ward, a Town Council member, and Linwood Altman, president of the Pawleys Island Civic Association.

Anderson got $350 from Charlie Luquire, a former county GOP official. He got $100 from Jim Jerow, a former party chairman and a Heritage resident.

Anderson said he also got some advice: “This isn’t going to be any cake walk.”

Anderson and Goggans will speak to the Waccamaw Neck Republican Club on Monday. It meets at 7 p.m. at the Waccamaw Library. The public is invited.

Spending in House race could reach six figures

Vida Miller raised $63,000 the last time she ran for state House District 108. She had $7,742 left after settling accounts in that 2010 race, which she lost to a Republican newcomer.

Her last-minute decision to file last month didn’t give her time for fundraising, but that’s about to change, Miller said.

She is challenging freshman Rep. Stephen Goldfinch who has raised $16,741 so far, money that was intended primarily to ward off a challenge in the GOP primary.

Since filing his quarterly campaign finance report with the state Ethics Commission last week, Goldfinch said he has added over $4,000 in contributions.

“I have five or six different fundraisers between now and the primary,” Goldfinch said. He is unopposed for his party’s nomination.

He took in $2,850 in the first quarter of the year, with $1,000 coming from the Republican Caucus. He got $750 from the Trucking Industry Political Action Committee, $250 each from Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the S.C. Chiropractic Association and $100 from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers PAC.

Miller received donations from businesses and political action committees in her 2010 campaign. “We’re working on an outreach program to connect with some old friends,” she said.

She listed no contributions in her quarterly report with the Ethics Commission. “It was sort of a last-minute decision to file,” Miller said. “We’re in campaign mode now.”

She doesn’t expect to raise any less than in 2010. Campaigns “don’t get any cheaper,” she noted.

A Democrat, she served seven terms in the House before losing to Kevin Ryan, who served one term before taking a job as a wildlife officer with the state Department of Natural Resources. Raising money is important not only as a sign of support, but to help reconnect with voters, Miller said.

“Money is important to get your message out,” she said.

Goldfinch figures $30,000 to $40,000 should be enough to finance a viable campaign in a district that has become even more solidly Republican since redistricting that followed the 2010 census. But he isn’t setting any limit on what he expects to raise.

“We’re going to make sure we win this big,” he said.

He was unopposed for the GOP nomination in 2012 and a Democratic candidate was disqualified for a filing error that affected hundreds of candidates around the state. Goldfinch is looking forward to an active campaign.

“I enjoy campaigning. It’s fun for me,” he said.

Miller’s decision caught him by surprise, but Goldfinch said “I’m happy we live in a country where we can express our political differences.”

Goldfinch said he is looking forward to engaging Miller in debate over the issues.

Miller said that suits her. “Education, infrastructure, health care, care for senior citizens, these are all non-partisan issues,” she said.

Since traditionally Democratic precincts in the city of Georgetown were cut out of the district, she knows that she will have to appeal to Republicans and independents. “We know what the numbers are,” Miller said. “In 2010, District 108 was the highest GOP straight-ticket district in the state out of 124 House districts.”

In past races, she was able to draw Republican votes and once had support from a group calling itself Republicans for Miller. That group may be in the mix again. “I had a phone call in regard to that,” Miller said.

Along with raising money, Goldfinch said he has collected over 20 endorsements from area leaders that he will announce over the coming weeks. The first was from Tim Tilley of Georgetown, who chairs the county Alliance for Economic Development and the task force looking for ways to fund port dredging in Georgetown.

Tilley praised Goldfinch for his understanding of business issues when it comes to economic development.

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