Robocalls target Horry County Council candidates -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Robocalls target Horry County Council candidates

Left: Bob Kelly/ Right: Oliver "Bubba" Owens Left: Bob Kelly/ Right: Oliver "Bubba" Owens

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Residents are receiving robocalls targeting certain campaigns and candidates running for the District 3 seat on Horry County Council.

Since before local primary elections on Tuesday, November 3, many Horry County residents are answering the phone only to hear an automated message on the other end.

These messages claim to be different groups and campaigns with something to say about one candidate or another. While most of the candidates in the race have been the targets of these robocalls, the latest ones are about Bob Kelly. The message claims to be from the friends of Bob Kelly and references a previous story on WMBF News.

The automated call says, “I'm calling on behalf of the friends of Bob Kelly. Last Night WMBF News ran a story accusing the Bob Kelly campaign of bribery. Those of us from New Jersey, know what real bribery is. That was not bribery. That's just the way we do business in New Jersey, for the good of our community. Paid for by the friends of Bob Kelly.”

WMBF News brought in Bob Kelly to listen to the call.

“When they listen to that, they'll understand that did not come from me in any way, shape or form. It's just a slanderous thing made up by obviously my opponent. Like I say I only have one other opponent so I don't know where else it could have came from,” Kelly said.

The other Republican running in Tuesday's runoff election, Bubba Owens, says he's not behind the calls.

“We have a good council. They are moving in the right strides and this negativity, we don't need this. I mean this is just childish and I don't understand where it comes from to be honest with you,” Owens said.

Owens has had a robocall slamming him too.

“It's embarrassing to me, Horry County, County Council, my family. Especially my family… my kids have been great, my fiancé has been great, it's just very negative,” Owens said.

WMBF News tried tracking the call and called back to only receive this voicemail:

“Thank you for calling the friends of Bob Kelly. Sorry no one is available right now to take your call. If you're looking to contribute to the friends of Bob Kelly, we don't really need any money.  We'll have plenty of money when Bob raises taxes here in Horry County. Please let us know what you think about Bob Kelly's campaign. Thank You.”

Kelly says voters are more than welcome to listen to the message but wants them to know he is not behind this negative tactic.

“That’s not going to happen because I don't have any robocalls, I don't believe in that. So anytime you get a call that says it's from Bob's not from Bob Kelly,” Kelly said.

“I don't play like that. I haven't done any negative calls, negative radio ads, negative TV ads, nothing. There's no reason to do that. I'm going to win on merit and that's all there is to it and I'm sorry to the people of Horry County have to put up with this,” he added.

WMBF News reached out to the State Election Commission and the State Ethics Commission to find neither regulate or support robocalls.

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