Recount expected in Horry County Council chairman race, two other primary races

Recount ordered in Horry council chairman race, two other primary races
Horry County elections employees organizing votes. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
Horry County elections employees organizing votes. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A recount is expected in three area primary races, including the race to become the next chairman of the Horry County Council, according to Horry County Elections Director Sandy Martin.

Martin confirmed votes from eight machines still need to be counted. The recount is expected after the original vote count is certified on Thursday morning.

However, during election night, the county website said 100 percent of precincts had reported.

"That means everything was in, but really it wasn't because we had one total precinct that was out," Martin said. "There was only 44 votes in that precinct, but the clerk couldn't get either machine to close up properly and we had to go get those first thing this morning (Wednesday). So, we've got all our precinct total except those eight machines, and once we got those plugged in we'll have a final tally."

According to information from, Republican challenger Johnny Gardner appears to have defeated incumbent Mark Lazarus for the race to become the next chairman of the Horry County Council. Gardener amassed 50.4 percent of the vote, while Lazarus procured 49.60 percent of the total vote, according to unofficial results.

Martin said state law requires a recount when there is a less than 1 percent difference. There are three races in Horry County that are too close to call just yet.

Gardner said he thinks everyone was surprised the votes were as close as they are.

"I think last night (Tuesday) is a very good example of how hard it is to win against an incumbent." Gardner said. "The voters were sending a message they wanted change."

Gardner said he thinks after the certification, he'll still be in the lead.

"What we've done is we have projected the percentages by precincts for those missing votes and if it trends like it did last night, we were ahead by 194 last night and there are around 300 votes left, so if it trends we will win by around 175," he said.

Though it is still a waiting game until votes are certified, Gardner said he's looking ahead to his goals if he takes office. With no Democratic challengers, the winner of Republican primary would run unopposed in November's general election.

"My first goal is always the same, it's public safety. We won't take office until January, but doing business out in the open and total transparency on how we do business, those are the two biggest things," Gardner said.

An additional race that requires a recount is the Republican primary for State House District 104, which saw William Bailey beat out incumbent Greg Duckworth. There is an 18-vote difference.

Bailey said he is confident and hoping for the best. He also noted that three of the machines not accounted for are apparently in his district.

Duckworth said it's just a close count and he has to sit back and let the officials do their job.

According to Martin, there is also a 32-vote difference for the Horry County Council District 2 race between incumbent Bill Howard and challenger Dean Pappas.

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