MyrtleBeachSC.com has learned that Mayor John Rhodes, Councilman Lowder, and Councilman Wallace are working in tandem to attempt to shut down any attempts at resident attended Fall debates. Such debates would put the unpopular incumbents at risk with facing the voters face to face.
Mayor Rhodes told one local resident, “If the challengers can’t afford advertising, they shouldn’t be running.”
Mayor Rhodes was not present at the most recent forum put on by the Myrtle Beach Republican Women’s Club. The event went off without him. However, local media made it a point to call the mayor and get his input on the issues as if he had actually attended. They included the mayor’s input in their articles.
Residents tell MyrtleBeachSC.com that incumbents are likely to make two scheduled debates in closed studios where city residents will not be allowed in:
- WMBFnews TV 10 inside the studio debate
- WPDE ABC inside the studio debate
Both of these local stations’ corporate parent companies receive Tourist Tax Chamber of Commerce advertising monies in the millions. The station manager of WPDE, Billy Huggins, sits on the board of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. WPDE’s media parent corporation, Sinclair Broadcasting, has also paid for travel expenses of Mayor Rhodes in recent years.
Mr. Huggins and Mr. Rhodes are also considered close, personal friends.