Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Big Names Headline S.C. Open-Seat Race

Fundraising ability will be a key factor in the upcoming contest, especially with Brown announcing his retirement just six months before the primary. But South Carolina GOP political consultant Adam Temple said the open-seat race presents an important opportunity for both a well-funded political outsider and some of the more recognizable names being floated.

“Now the race has transitioned from ‘I’m running against Henry’ to ‘What are you going to do?’” Temple said. “Somebody is going to have to come in similar to Mark Sanford in 1994 and say, ‘This is what’s wrong, and this is what I’m going to do.’ ... If it’s a wealthy businessman, they need to articulate that. If it’s a politician, they need to point to what is in their record that’s indicative of that.”

Thurmond acknowledged in an interview this week that he was “very fortunate in the family I was born into. ... My background and my experience is in part due to what I was exposed to and the way I was brought up.”

But he said he hopes to be able to distinguish himself on his record.

“Obviously with county council we’re dealing with a much smaller budget, but I’ve stood for less government and less expenses and fairness in taxes,” he said.

Hartnett said he is looking at a Congressional bid as something akin to a political “rescue mission.”

“I’m really concerned about how much time this country might have left to stop or at least slow down the slide that we’re taking into ... economic oblivion, to socialistic programs and government running everything.”

Hartnett pointed out that his three previous terms in Congress would benefit the 1st district because it would give him a leg up in terms of seniority among the freshman class of the 112th Congress.

“I don’t think we have time for young people going up there and worrying about establishing seniority,” he said.

Campbell, who has been in the race since late September, has worked to establish himself among the key players in South Carolina political circles. This week the business management consultant and entrepreneur announced the endorsement of three former South Carolina Republican Party chairmen, including Hipp.

“Carroll Campbell will be a strong grass roots conservative, pro-small business voice in Congress,” Hipp said in the release.

In response to Thurmond’s entrance into the race, Campbell’s camp on Wednesday released results from a campaign poll from last summer that showed the son of the former governor with a higher name recognition than the son of the former Senator.

Democrats are still searching for a candidate who might make the open-seat race competitive, after businesswoman Linda Ketner held Brown to his lowest re-election percentage in 2008.

After briefly reconsidering her decision in the wake of Brown’s retirement announcement, Ketner told supporters Wednesday that she will stick by her original plan to skip the 2010 election.

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