North Myrtle Campaign Signs

Campaign signs at an intersection in North Myrtle Beach's Ocean Drive Beach neighborhood. Photo by Christian Boschult

With the November 5 election less than a week away, some candidates on the ballot in North Myrtle Beach have raised considerably more money than others.

There are five candidates: J.O Baldwin III or Ed Ramey for Crescent Beach, Hank Thomas or Greg Richardson for the at-large seat, and Fred Coyne, running unopposed for the Cherry Grove seat. 

Baldwin by far has raised the most money; his pre-election campaign report - which covers campaign activity up to 20 days before the election - shows that he had raised $12,350. Thomas raised the second-most by the end of the filing period, bringing in $7,794. Coyne, who is running unopposed, raised $2,904, including $807 of his own money and $1,597 in in-kind contributions.

“I think that things are going very well in our city and I think that people like what’s going on and they want to keep it that way,” Baldwin said. “They want to make sure things continue to go in the right direction.”

Thomas said while he’s a life-long resident, there are new citizens in town that he needs to reach. 

“It’s important to get the word out there who I am,” Thomas said. “It just costs a lot of money to do that.”

But challengers Richardson and Ramey have reported no contributions. 

The South Carolina Ethics Commission confirmed that state law requires candidates to file the pre-election report regardless of financial activity, and candidates who spend their own money on their campaign or get goods and services donated (referred to as “in-kind” donations) still must declare them.

Ramey filed his pre-election report without declaring any expenditures or donations, including personal funds and in-kind donations, despite having campaign signs dotting the city. Ramey did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Richardson hadn’t filed his pre-election report until receiving a call from a MyHorryNews reporter on Thursday. The pre-election report is due between 15 and 20 days before election day, although candidates may amend it after the initial filing. 

Richardson said since he hadn’t solicited any contributions, he didn’t know he needed to file his pre-election report, but he did report his own expenses on Friday morning, showing $264 spent mostly on campaign signs and stickers.

“I put down myself as giving contributions as a candidate but I have not had any outside campaign contributions at all,” Richardson said. “I’m just running as a grassroots candidate. I don’t believe I need to ask for people’s money, I need to ask for their vote. I’ve got a good response; I’m hoping it’s going to be very close if not a win. I have done a few interviews that I’ve been called on to do, but no contributions or anything.”

To see candidates' campaign filings for yourself, visit the South Carolina Ethics Commission website.

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