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4 candidates vying to become Myrtle Beach mayor face off in debate, Bethune hosts meet and greet

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Four out of the five candidates hoping to become mayor of Myrtle Beach faced off in a debate Wednesday night.

The Myrtle Beach Mayoral Candidates Debate was hosted by Patriots Reporting for Duty at the Gen. R.H. Reed Recreation Center, with Paul Gable moderating.

The following candidates took part in the debate:

  • Tammie Durant
  • Gene Ho
  • William D. McClure
  • C.D. Rozsa

Considering three of the four challengers for Myrtle Beach mayor have public safety or military experience in some capacity, it probably wasn’t too much of a surprise crime became the focal point for the debate.

For Durant, a retired police officer, addressing crime is her first objective should she be elected.

“The first steps that I would take is hiring more officers,” said Durant. “We have to get our law enforcement back in the communities. We have to have that relationship and we don’t.”

Gene Ho, who was the personal photographer for former President Donald Trump, says if all he does is cut back on crime, he’ll be the best Myrtle Beach mayor ever.

“Day one after I get elected, I’m going to go downtown, look the drug dealers in the eye, and say you have 45 days to get out of here,” said Ho.

McClure is a veteran, who spent 20 years working in car sales and marketing.

He thinks battling crime takes the right combination of police, fire and EMS.

“If you don’t get to the root cause of the crime, you’re never, ever going to be able to solve it,” said McClure.

C.D. Rozsa is a former firefighter who says the police department needs restructuring.

“It’s not about bringing in more police officers,” said Rozsa. “It’s about finding out why these police officers are coming in here and not staying.”

Of course, crime didn’t dominate the whole debate, the recent discussion of using local funds to pay for part of I-73 got attention as well.

“We need those funds,” said Durant. “We need roads. We need a lot more done in our city so why do we need to use our funds?”

“Just like we all want the swimming pool in the backyard,” said Ho. “We want it, but then it’s like, ‘How are we going to pay for it? Is the debt going to be too much? And where is that money going to be coming from?’”

“Using local funds to complete that last 18 miles, just not a really good idea,” said McClure.

“Now is not the time to even discuss I-73,” said Rozsa. “It’s just a waste of money, and that money can go to the fire department.”

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune is also running in hopes of being re-elected to the seat, but she didn’t participate in the debate after committing to another event around the same time.

The incumbent hosted a meet and greet Wednesday afternoon along with some current members of Myrtle Beach City Council.

“I hope it’s a two-way street,” Bethune said during the event. “I hope that we walk away with some ideas of what people see that needs to be done, things that are important to them, where they want the focus to be. And I hope that they learn more about each of us and about the accomplishments of the past four years.”

City voters will choose a mayor on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

City council elections in Myrtle Beach are at-large and non-partisan, with members serving four-year terms.

WATCH THE FULL DEBATE BELOW:

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