Presidential debate puts Myrtle Beach in the spotlight

Myrtle Beach city leaders hope to get exposure from the SCGOP Presidential Debate being held on the Grand Strand, but they're hoping even more that the exposure translates to money.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce bought thousands of commercials, and businesses hope to benefit by hosting events because many people from out of town are here in Myrtle Beach to be a part of the political scene.

North Carolina native Joy White drove five hours from Pinnacle to be in Myrtle Beach for what she calls history. "Whoever is the nominee is going to be having a very historic campaign and I wanted to be able to see that."

And that history is what Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce president Brad Dean is banking on. "Over the course of this week we will have over 2,000 television spots running."

Dean says the focus from the Republican presidential debate is giving the city an unprecedented spotlight - with the debate being a topic of conversation on social networks like Twitter. "The real beauty of this event is the publicity it brings, and often times it's publicity you can't get otherwise," Dean said.

And that publicity has businesses cashing in.

Orlando Preissler rented out his restaurant, Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse, to a campaign - bringing in hundreds of customers. "For us, Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter for us because Rioz is going to be exposed."

Exposed for all to see and for all to take advantage of.

"Tonight, the eyes of the nation will be on Myrtle Beach. Five visionary leaders will vie for the right to become the leader of the free world. The one most certain winner is going to be Myrtle Beach, South Carolina," Dean said.

The chamber hired a political advertising expert to test the visit Myrtle Beach commercials on a focus group today using the same technology used for campaigns. The chamber wants to make sure the ads are working.