Heather Johnson

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Democrat Heather Johnson officially dropped out of the race for Horry County School Board today, according a news release.

“First, I tend to be both a social and fiscal conservative - but I filed as a Democrat believing that I would have a better chance to make my case and discuss the issues against a single opponent in November than in a crowded primary in July,” Johnson explained. “Because I am not a politician, I was naïve in that, even if voters on both sides of the aisle favor my candidacy, “Straight-Ticket Voting” (pushing the “R”) assures a Republican victory in November.”

No Democrat has won a county-wide race in more than a quarter century, she said.

Johnson was the sole opponent to Ken Richardson, who won the Republican primary spot last week that would have run against Johnson in the November election.

Johnson added that she believes that party affiliation should not be a significant factor when running for or voting on school board positions.

“Secondly, dragging this decision out another 4 months only delays the inevitable coronation of Ken Richardson as Chairman.” she emphasized. “I have personally offered my assistance to Ken to serve as a liaison concerning teacher insight and student needs. I’m hopeful that the Board and Mr. Richardson can find a way to begin working together immediately. Our children deserve no less.”

Richardson said he was caught off guard by the news, but said that he thinks Johnson is a class act.

“It takes a lot today to put your name on the ballot and be subject to everything you’re subject to on a campaign trail,” Richardson said. She’s passionate about her cause, and against bullying, and I’m with her 100 percent on that.”

Richardson did say that he felt that if he doesn’t have to spend the next few months campaigning, he can better focus on being even more prepared to take the school board chairman seat in January.

Johnson added that she didn’t enter the race to gain political power or notoriety.

“I did it because I’m a mother and a former teacher and I am concerned that we are losing a generation of young Americans. Communication skills, fundamental manners, self-value and authentic respect for others are items that are being lost in today’s fast-paced digital society. I want to use my time, money and energy efficiently to champion change on this front,” Johnson said.

The school board chairman seat was vacated in May due to the untimely passing of former chairman Joe DeFeo.

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