Vaught eyes County’s District 8 seat

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 8:00 am

530e5e68293e1.preview-300A former president of the Conway Chamber of Commerce has been studying the Horry County Council’s hot topics, policies and operating procedures for several months now looking forward to making a run for the District 8 seat being vacated by Carl Schwartzkopf.

John Marion “Johnny” Vaught III, who will run as a Republican, says he believes in minimal government, a government that’s representative of what the people think and want.

“I’m not a politician. I think that’s a good thing. I’m just a total civilian,” he said, adding that all he owes anybody is to be a good neighbor.

Actually, Vaught says, it was his Quail Creek neighbors who pressed him into running because they thought he would make a good councilman.

“I’m very good at getting out and listening to what people think and hearing what they have to say…I intend to vote according to my conscience and their wishes, according to the issues they bring up,” he said.

Vaught became interested in county politics after working with a group of about 40 Quail Creek residents who opposed the recent move to create a special tax district in Quail Creek. The move was soundly defeated.

Vaught believes implementing a new tax district would have taken control of the subdivision away from its residents and put it into the hands of too few people who would have made up an administrative committee.

Vaught believes that neighborhoods with covenants that are too restrictive take away residents’ ability to get to know their neighbors and work out their own problems with them.

Filing opens for Horry County Council and other local races March 17 and remains open through March 30. Filing can be completed at the Horry County Voter Registration and Election Office at 1515 Fourth Ave., Conway. Primaries will be held June 10, with any needed runoffs coming June 24. The General Election is set for Nov. 4.

Vaught isn’t waiting until after the election to school himself on county issues. Since he decided to run, he says he hasn’t missed a county council or committee meeting.

He already sees flow control as hanging around for a while. Airport expansion is something the county will have to deal with this year, along with beach tents. He favors having consistent rules along area beaches to keep from confusing sunbathers.

He also sees the Coast RTA as staying in the forefront because he sees controversy there.

The two bike weeks continue to create a controversy that just won’t go away. Vaught thinks there needs to be a compromise between the policing, economic and public nuisance factors. The bike weeks bring in too much money to ban, he said.

Vaught is a Conway native who worked for 29 years as the head of the Electronics Engineering Technology Department at Horry Georgetown Technical College. Since his retirement from HGTC he has worked as a consultant to Major Machine, Inc.

The 64-year-old Conway High School graduate holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, both in electrical engineering from the University of South Carolina.

Vaught is a former president of the S.C. Technical Education Association and the Waccamaw Sertoma Club. He teaches the Hut Bible Class at First United Methodist Church in Conway and is vice president of the Horry County Higher Education Commission.

He is a licensed competition driver with the Sports Car Club of America and lists his other hobbies as NASCAR, gun collecting and classic car restoration.

He is married to Margaret Ann Vaught. They have four children.

Vaught believes serving in public office takes caring, intelligence, a good set of ears ready to listen and common sense.

He says he’s a quick learner and his pre-campaign study of council will have him ready to serve, if he’s elected.

“I’ll be able to hit the ground running…I’m not missing any meetings. I’m taking notes,” he said.

Vaught’s name may sound familiar. He’s the nephew of the late Gen. James Vaught, a Conway native who served in three wars and later in life became a fixture at Horry County Council meetings.

Johnny Vaught said he hopes to continue his uncle’s legacy.

“He was such a voice of the people,” he said, “and a voice of reason.”

Vaught has a website up and working at

Before council districts were redrawn, District 8 covered most of the City of Conway. That isn’t the case now. District 8, fairly small landwise, includes both sides of S.C. 544.

It stops at S.C. 90 and, for most of the district, near U.S. 501. On its southside, District 8 goes almost to the Carolina Bays Parkway.

District 7 now covers most of Conway, running all the way from Bull Creek past the Conway/Horry County Airport and out U.S. 701 North almost to S.C. 22.

District maps can be viewed by going to, clicking on the left column on county departments and then scrolling to the Voter Registration and Elections Office.

Longtime Horry County Councilman James Frazier represents District 7, and he doesn’t plan to stop now.

Frazier says he hopes to hold on to his seat in this next election.

He joined with four other incumbents Tuesday to announce their candidacies.


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Paid for by Johnny Vaught for Horry County Council 112 East Coker Lane Conway, SC 29526