Henry Brown to Retire

Posted January 4, 2010 at 8:04am

Updated: 11:55 a.m.Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election this year.“It is time for me to leave and spend more time with my wife of 54 years, Billye, my children and my grandchildren,— Brown, 74, said in a statement.The Palmetto Scoop, a South Carolina political blog, first reported that Brown would not seek a sixth term in South Carolina’s 1st district, a Republican-leaning area that includes part of Charleston and other territory in the eastern part of the state.Brown was nearly defeated for re-election in 2008 by Democrat Linda Ketner and was already facing a 2010 primary challenge from several Republicans, including Carroll Campbell III, the namesake son of a late former governor.“As a personal donor and supporter of Mr. Brown’s previous runs for public office, I appreciate the fact that Henry is putting his state and his party first in this decision,— Campbell said in a statement. “I also want to thank Congressman Brown for his service to South Carolina and the Republican Party.—Other Republicans running for the seat include Ryan Buckhannon, a councilman in Isle of Palms, and Mark Fava, a former town councilor in Mount Pleasant. Other Republicans should enter the race now that Brown is retiring.“I chose to make the announcement at this time so that Republicans who have not considered running for Congress out of friendship or respect for my incumbency can consider their options to file and have adequate time to campaign,— Brown said.The 1st district has a distinct Republican lean — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried it with 56 percent vote in the 2008 presidential election — and the winner of the June 8 GOP primary will be strongly favored to succeed Brown. The candidate filing deadline is March 30.Three Democrats are running: Robert Burton, a retired Air Force colonel; Robert Dobbs, a businessman and a former county supervisor in Wisconsin; and Dick Withington, a retired accountant and former Navy officer.Brown spent 15 years in the South Carolina state House and was first elected to Congress in 2000, succeeding Mark Sanford (R), who is now governor. Brown amassed a conservative voting record and focused on funding local projects, describing himself as a “back seat guy— who tried “not to make a big splash.— His support for appropriations earmarks and his office’s high expenditures on franked mail sometimes drew criticism from fiscally conservative activists.Brown is the 14th House Republican to disclose plans to forgo re-election this year. Nine Democrats are not seeking re-election to the House. The total does not include Members who have resigned or plan to vacate their seats early.