Meet the Candidates running for Horry County Council chairman (Update)

Update March 8th: The special election for Horry County Chairman is fast approaching and this will mark the first election in Horry County where voters will be required to show a state issued picture ID. 

The South Carolina Elections Commissions sent out an informative PDF to educate SC voters. The key points of the PDF are that the state now requires the following types of identification:

  • S.C. Driver’s License
  • ID Card issued by S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles 
  • S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo • Federal Military ID
  • U.S. Passport 

There is an option if you do not have a photo ID, the PDF reads,

"If you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining Photo ID, you may vote a provisional ballot after showing your non-photo voter registration card. A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control, which created an obstacle to obtaining Photo ID. "

Some of the examples include: Religious objection to being photographed, Disability or illness, Work schedule, Lack of transportation, Lack of birth certificate, and more.

You can read the full PDF below (or download it here) along with a brief bio of the five candidates.

First Report February 22nd: Five candidates are vying for the open Horry County Council chairman seat left vacant due to Tom Rice's 7th District win. 

Most of the candidates have been involved in Horry County and Myrtle Beach politics for a long while. Some are former elected officials, some are business owners and some have sat on boards in the area. All of the candidates for chairman are Republican. The primary is scheduled for March 12th.

Check out the recent Sun News article about the recent Carolina Forest forum that hosted all five of the candidates. 

Here's a quick look at all the candidates:

420Al Allan: County Councilman

  • Al is a commercial pilot with over 12,000 hours of flight time in various aircraft. Together with his wife they run Allen Aviation Inc. providing aerial application services. Al Allen has served on the County Council for 6 years, rolling up his sleeves for the people of District 11. He is also currently serving on both the Public Committee of Safety and the Economic Development Committee. More at his official bio at
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  • Website

421Liz Gilland: former County Council Chairwoman.

Gilland ran recently and lost in the 2012 election for South Carolina House of Representatives District 105. She has been a fixture in area politics, sitting on the Horry County Council for many terms for nearly 20 years. Gilland was elected chairman of the Horry County Council in 2003 and 2006. She is a Conway native, graduating from Conway High School. Later she went to both Columbia College and the University of South Carolina. 

422 Debbie Harwell: former member of the MBACC board of directors,  President & CEO Adobe Palm Enterprises.

Harwell was one of the early candidates for the SC 7th District, however had to withdraw due to family health issues. She currently works as a Government, public and Media Relations consultant on transportation projects for her own company. Harwell is known for her work on the City of Myrtle Beach Train Depot Restoration Committee, A-Tax Committee, Horry County Transportation Committee, SCDOT Freight and Rail Committee, Governmental Affairs Committee, and as the Founder of Myrtle Beach Herald Newspaper and associated publications.

423 Mark Lazarus: Owner of Wild Water & Wheels, Former Horry County Councilman.

Acording to his website, Lazarus has been married for 25 years, has three children and has been a resident of Horry County for 36 years. Lazarus was a one time president of the Sertoma Club. He owns the popular summer time spot, Wild Water and Wheels. 

424 Fonzie Lewis: Owner of 501 Mini Mart

Lewis has been a fixture in campaigns, a Conway native, he has ran for South Carolina House of Representatives, District 58, 2012 and in 2008. From 2006-2008, Lewis was a member of the Aynor Chamber of Commerce. Last October Lewis was arrested for owning/operating suspected illegal video poker machines at his 501 Mini Mart in Conway and the Happy Days game room that was attached