MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The most hotly contested race in our area is not over. Brenda Bethune and incumbent John Rhodes will meet in a runoff in two weeks to decide the next mayor of Myrtle Beach.
Neither got enough votes in the five-person race to secure the win; one needed to break 50 percent.
News13 caught up with Rhodes election night, but he did not respond to our request for an interview Wednesday. We sat down with Bethune and asked her to explain how she and Rhodes are similar and different.
“We both know Brad Dean,” Bethune said. “That does not make me the ‘chamber girl’ as some people have said.”
Bethune said she is aware of people comparing her to Rhodes. She said in the past they have run in the same crowd. “We’ve been family friends for a long time.”
But when it comes to politics, she said, “I don’t think we’re similar at all.”
The two agree public safety is one of their biggest campaign issues but disagree on how to provide it.
Rhodes made his plan clear Tuesday night. “Chief Amy Prock and her plan. Get that going in the right direction to help fight and combat crime.”
He is referring to the Myrtle Beach Police chief’s plan to add 70 officers over seven years.
News13 asked Bethune’s thoughts on Chief Prock’s plan. “I think it needs to go about ten levels deeper,” Bethune said Wednesday. “We need to continue looking outside of the box for other ways to police our streets.”
Bethune wants to use tax dollars that go to tourism, or TDF funds, to help with public safety. That would require a change in state law, as right now those funds go to advertising for the city.
We also asked her plans for downtown redevelopment and the superblock area. “I do believe that he still is in favor of demolishing some of the buildings in the superblock area,” she said, speaking of Rhodes. “I am not.”
Earlier this year, Rhodes announced plans to build a children’s museum and library there, and the city already bought many properties there.
But he recently stated those are just options now. “There is no concrete, nothing etched in stone or concrete about the children’s museum or the library,” he said election night.
Voters will return to the polls November 21 to pick the next mayor. Count on News13 to keep you updated over the coming weeks and on runoff election day.