deskMark Lazarus Announces Re-Election

Conway – On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Horry County Council Chairman and area businessman Mark Lazarus held a press conference at the Horry County Government Complex to announce his candidacy for re-election as Chairman of Horry County Council.

“County Council’s renewed focus on job creation, infrastructure development, and public safety has been vital to our success this past year.” Lazarus said. “From attracting PTR and Accent Stainless or other businesses into Horry County, working with our police to establish crime task forces, enhancing resources for our first responders, or getting road construction efforts for Highways 31 and 707 continuing again, this council means business.”

Lazarus, who has served less than a year as County Council Chairman, credited council’s success to teamwork. “Look at the record: we’ve done a lot this past year. However, without the team effort given from my fellow councilmen, the county’s dedicated employees, and our residents, we could not have accomplished so much in such a short time.”

Lazarus’s main focus if re-elected, however, would be continuing to work on infrastructure issues, economic growth, and public safety. “I’ll continue to be an ambassador for our county and will actively work to recruit more business to our area. In concert with that approach, I want improvements to our current infrastructure and public safety so that Horry County is more attractive to businesses outside our area.”

“With that being said, I want to give credit to our county employees. They are the real ambassadors of this county. I will fight every day for them because they are the backbone of our success.”

To address these three major issues and how he could continue to help the county, Lazarus drew attention to his small business acumen. “I am ready to put my experience as a successful businessman and local business owner to work for you, and with your help, we’ll continue making strides together and seize the opportunity to make Horry County a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

Serving less than a year, Mark Lazarus was elected in 2013 to fill the vacancy left when Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) was elected to Congress to represent South Carolina’s seventh congressional district. Lazarus is also the managing partner of Wild Water and Wheels in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. A longtime resident of the area, he lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife Helen and his three children Christina, Jordan, and Jacob.

Lazarus defeats Allen in runoff for Horry County Council chairman’s seat 


Mark Lazarus will be the next Horry County Council chairman.

The Myrtle Beach businessman defeated county councilman Al Allen Tuesday in a Republican primary runoff. Lazarus received 55 percent of the votes cast, according to unofficial results.

Allen called Lazarus to concede the race late Tuesday.

Although there will be a general election on April 30, no Democrats filed for the seat, meaning Lazarus is running unopposed.

The chairman is the only member of county council who is elected at-large. Although the term usually lasts four years, this year’s special election is to fill the seat vacated by Tom Rice, who was elected to Congress in November.

Lazarus’ term will last through 2014.


 Myrtle Beach – Former Horry County Council Chairman candidate Debbie Harwell officially endorsed area businessman Mark Lazarus today in his bid for County Council Chairman.

“During the campaign, I learned a lot about the other candidates and their plans for Horry County,” said Harwell. “Mark’s platform most closely reflected mine with gains in economic development, transportation and county employee pay and benefits.  The safety of the Carolina Forest residents was also thrust to the forefront these past couple of days.

“Mark will be a dedicated public servant and can provide the leadership ability to handle what will be challenging times for Horry County in balancing the budget and handling growth.”

In response to Debbie Harwell’s endorsement, Mark Lazarus said the following: “I want to thank Debbie Harwell for endorsing me in the run-off election next week. We face critical issues here in Horry County and I look forward to working with her and others as a team to address Horry County’s needs.”

Lazarus looks forward to the final week of the campaign and sharing his vision with voters. “I am running to represent and serve the entire county, not any particular area or group. ‘A rising tide lifts all boats,’ as the saying goes, and this county cannot move forward and prosper until we address these issues together.”

Mark Lazarus received roughly forty-one percent (41%) of the vote in a five-way primary. A longtime resident of the area, he lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife Helen and his three children Christina, Jordan, and Jacob.

Lazarus Stands Out – Endorsed by Sun News!

As Horry County ponders who to put into the role of County Council chairman, two major, ongoing issues come to the fore.

The first is no surprise. It’s the same concern we’ve had for the past few years: How can we improve our local economy and get more people back to work? While local jobless numbers are showing some welcome improvement, our recovery from the crash of a few years ago remains painstakingly slow. More than 11 percent of Horry County workers were without jobs in December, the latest numbers available from the state Department of Employment and Workforce. Job seekers in our region outnumbered job openings 5 to 1.

And it’s not just that we need more jobs. We also desperately need better paying jobs that provide better opportunities for our residents. The Myrtle Beach metro area continues to lag near or at the bottom when it comes to average hourly wages and annual income. Nearly a quarter of the county’s children are living under the poverty line. A fifth of the county is receiving food aid. And an amazing 25 to 30 percent of Horry County is functionally illiterate, reading at or below a fifth-grade level.

It’s always been true that there’s only so much government can do to remedy these issues. Incentives and “business-friendly” policies will only go so far toward bringing in new jobs and helping current employers. Recovery will only truly pick up steam when private industry feels secure and ready to expand. But there certainly are policies and ideas that government can implement to make it easier for businesses to bounce back and hire once again, which is where we look to our politicans for leadership.

Our area’s second major issue is inextricably tied to the first: Growth.

The Census Bureau estimates the county has added 80,000 residents since 2000. Our population has almost doubled in the past 20 years, growing by 130,000 residents. That’s meant building new schools, paving new roads, laying new sewer lines, expanding hospitals, constructing new libraries, dedicating new parks and weighing the merits of new developments and applications for construction.

But that explosive growth slowed somewhat after the housing bubble burst; we have slightly different leadership needs today than we did a few years ago. Not so long ago, we required leaders able to make smart decisions about where to pull back on the reins, to regulate and police growth that was often happening faster than the county could keep up. Today, we need leaders able to jump-start that growth once more.

Meanwhile, the next chairman will be dealing with a countywide property reassessment that could play havoc with the county budget. He or she will also be in office when the second RIDE effort to pay for local roads comes to an end, likely later this year. Whether to initiate a third effort, what that might look like and how to structure it will soon become major questions.

So who among the five candidates for chairman has the qualities necessary to both nurture our recovering economy and make smart decisions about our growth? We believe the baton should fall to businessman and former Councilman Mark Lazarus.

Lazarus has decades of local business experience, growing ventures from the ground up. He also offers plenty of local political experience, with prior service on the County Council as well as other local boards. His involvement in the community – we hear every year from folks grateful for the foster care day hosted by his water park – and his good relationship with current leaders throughout the area, also recommend him for this seat.

Some have attempted to paint Lazarus’ extensive connections with local, regional and state leaders as a weakness, evidence that he is merely a tool of the old -oy network. But we don’t buy into the notion that simply having good working relationships with powerful people automatically leads to shadowy back-room deals. Instead, Lazarus’ ability to quickly and easily integrate himself into regional groups such as the North Eastern Strategic Alliance, Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, Coastal Alliance and more is a definite advantage.

With this term lasting only 18 months, we need a leader able to make a difference from day one. (And on the flip side, voters have the advantage of replacing that leader in just a year and a half if it turns out the wrong person got the job.) Lazarus is the leader best positioned to hit the ground running, and with numerous business successes under his belt, he knows personally what other businesses need – and what they don’t – in order to succeed.

As for the other candidates, Councilman Al Allen and former Chairwoman Liz Gilland also ran strong campaigns. We appreciated, for instance, Gilland’s focus not just on attracting new businesses but also encouraging and growing our existing employers. And Allen undoubtedly has the strongest connection with and understanding of the concerns of more rural and agricultural western Horry County. We would not be concerned or sorry if either are elected and think both could do a fine job in the chairman’s seat.

We imagine the race will likely come down to one of these three – Lazarus, Gilland and Allen. All have their own advantages and good ideas. In fact, whoever wins, we would encourage him or her to sit down with the other two and talk about shared goals and ideas.
We had more concerns about local consultant Debbie Harwell, who has a strong background in transportation, but is a bit unrealistic in some of her expectations and promises when it comes to the position. Convenience store owner Fonzie Lewis, a perennial candidate, has always struck us as a nice guy who genuinely wants to help his community, but his lack of experience in local politics is a concern, given the steep learning curve he would have as chairman.

In the balance, Lazarus simply outshone his competitors and he’s our choice for Horry County Council chairman.

Read more here:



Press Release Jan 18, 2013


Contact: Russell Fry (

Phone: (843) 421-4587

Contact: Cam Crawford (

Phone: (843) 457-4841

Myrtle Beach – Former Horry County Councilman and local businessman Mark Lazarus officially entered the race for Horry County Council Chairman today by filing his paperwork with the Horry County Republican Party. Lazarus is seeking to fill the seat recently vacated by newly elected Congressman, Tom Rice.

“The current economic climate poses significant challenges to our county,” said Lazarus. “However, between my knowledge of how our county government operates and my experience as a small business owner, I am fully prepared to lead Horry County through these difficult times and make this county a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

When discussing his ideas for county council, Lazarus indicated that his business experience has equipped him with the tools necessary to be an effective Chairman. “In business, if you don’t understand your bottom line or budget properly, your business won’t succeed. The same is true of our local government; if we are not careful stewards of taxpayer money, our county and citizens suffer.”

“We need a common-sense and conservative approach to county government. I will oppose new taxes and eliminate government waste,” Lazarus said when identifying areas where county government can improve. “Our crime is too high, our roads are overcrowded, and we need more economic development and jobs. If we don’t have the right leadership to address these issues properly, we will miss our chance to turn difficult challenges into great opportunities.”

Lazarus looks forward to the upcoming campaign and sharing his vision with voters. “I am running to represent and serve the entire county, not any particular area or group. ‘A rising tide lifts all boats,’ as the saying goes, and this county cannot move forward and prosper until we address these issues as a team.”
Mark Lazarus formerly represented District 2 as an Horry County Council Member. He is the managing partner of Wild Water and Wheels in Surfside Beach, South Carolina and also works at Waccamaw Land and Timber. A longtime resident of the area, he lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife Helen and his three children Christina, Jordan, and Jacob.

Press Release on Jan 9, 2013


January 9, 2013

Contact:         Russell Fry

Phone:            (843) 421-4587



Mark Lazarus to Announce Candidacy for
Horry County
Council Chairman Seat

 Conway, SC – On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:30 a.m., former Horry County Councilman and local businessman, Mark Lazarus, will hold a press conference to announce his candidacy for Chairman of Horry County Council. The press conference will be held in the central atrium of the Horry County Government Complex in Conway, South Carolina.

 “We face significant challenges here in Horry County,” said Mark Lazarus, when explaining his desire to run for Chairman. “But we also have many great opportunities. In order to maximize those opportunities, we need a small businessman in this position who understands the financial needs of our citizens and how to create a better business environment here in Horry County.”

 Of special significance to Mr. Lazarus was his choice of forum in announcing his candidacy. “This is a large county with a diverse population. I am not running for Chairman to advance the causes of any particular group over another; I am running to serve all citizens in our area, which is why I chose the county seat to announce my intentions to represent Horry County as their next Chairman.”

 Lazarus’s campaign will focus on developing solutions to foster more cooperation between county and municipal government, economic and infrastructure development, as well as ways to decrease local crime. “Between our infrastructure issues to the escalating crime rate, Horry County needs a County Council Chairman who can encourage collaboration between city, county, and state government in order to address these concerns. By doing this, we create a better business environment for our local economy and a better quality of life for our families.”

 Mark Lazarus formerly represented District 2 as a Horry County Council Member. He is the managing partner of Wild Water and Wheels in Surfside Beach, South Carolina and also works at Waccamaw Land and Timber. A longtime resident of the area, he lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife Helen and his three children Christina, Jordan, and Jacob.

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