Gregory Duckworth has something unique that few other local elected officials who vote in lock step with Myrtle Beach Area Chamber C.E.O. Brad Dean don’t have. Duckworth has a true opponent. The Republican primary race for S.C. District 104 House of Representatives between Gregory Duckworth and William Bailey couldn’t be any tighter. Voters go to the polls on June 12th.
Bailey would be considered the truer local of the two in the race. Bailey is a graduate of Coastal Carolina University. Bailey worked for the City of North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Department for 20 years, and 4 of those years he served as Public Safety Director. He was responsible for a department of 130 sworn officers in all aspects of public safety as part of a 170-member department with a $13 million budget. The City of North Myrtle Beach is a town of approximately 13,000 citizens. The city of North Myrtle Beach is considered one of the best run municipalities along the Grand Strand.
Duckworth hails from West Virginia. The seat he now holds was formerly occupied by Tracy Edge, a well known North Myrtle Beach politician.
In 2016, Duckworth was part of the local Horry Delegation that championed the extension of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber’s (MBACC) TDF (Tourist Tax). Duckworth is a straight-line Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce voter. Duckworth has the support of the Grand Strand Business Alliance political action committee. The Grand Strand Business Alliance is among the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber’s key political action committees pouring massive amounts of local funding into their favored candidates’ campaigns.
The TDF was roundly dismissed, however, by the residents of North Myrtle Beach on March 6th in a special referendum.
More voters turned out for this special election to vote against the TDF than turned out to vote for North Myrtle Beach Mayor, Marilyn Hatley, in a general election last November. Hatley is considered the most popular mayor on the Grand Strand. She won last November in a landslide. After the results were tallied, Duckworth posted the following on social media.
The Club For Growth rates Duckworth’s voting record a “D-“, among the worst grades the group gives. The Club For Growth is among South Carolina’s most important conservative voices. According to Politico, “The Club for Growth is the pre-eminent institution promoting Republican adherence to a free-market, free-trade, anti-regulation agenda.”
The Club For Growth’s policy goals include cutting income tax rates, repealing the estate tax, supporting limited government and a balanced budget amendment, entitlement reform, free trade, tort reform, school choice, and deregulation.
With strong local name recognition, Bailey’s approach appears to be more grass roots. He has the support of the North Myrtle Beach small business community. Bailey also has a generation of connected history with North Myrtle Beach residents.
The contrasts between Duckworth and Bailey could not be more opposite. June 12th looks to be a date of interest for residents of District 104.