Interest in Brown’s Open Seat Growing

Posted January 4, 2010 at 12:55pm

Updated: 4:16 p.m.Hours after Rep. Henry Brown’s (R-S.C.) announcement Monday that he will not run for re-election this year, the list of potential candidates for his Charleston-based seat is growing. Paul Thurmond (R), a Charleston County councilman and a son of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), told the Charleston City Paper and Politico that he is weighing a campaign. Paul Thurmond’s four-year term expires at the end of this year.In addition, former Rep. Tommy Hartnett (R) and state Sen. Chip Campsen (R) both told Roll Call on Monday that they are considering campaigns.“It just concerns me so much to see what’s happening in Washington,— said Hartnett, who runs a real estate business and represented the 1st district from 1981 to 1986, when he lost a campaign for lieutenant governor.Hartnett, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992, when he narrowly lost to Sen. Fritz Hollings (D), said that a 2010 House campaign is “something that I’m looking at.— He said his decision would be influenced by family considerations and how the Republican field shakes out. Hartnett said he would probably make a decision in the next four to five weeks.Campsen, who was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 2004 and previously served in the state House, also included himself among the many candidates who are weighing whether to enter the race.Campsen noted that it had been only hours since Brown made his unexpected announcement. “This is kind of a surprise,— he said. “Everyone is surprised by this.—Campsen said he doesn’t have a timetable to make a decision but would discuss it with his wife and two high-school-age sons. Several Republicans are already challenging Brown in the primary, including Carroll Campbell III, the namesake son of a late former governor.Other Republicans running for the seat include Ryan Buckhannon, a councilman in Isle of Palms, and Mark Fava, a former town councilman in Mount Pleasant.On the Democratic side, Linda Ketner is weighing whether to wage a second campaign in the 1st district. Ketner came close to defeating Brown in 2008, but she said in June that she would not run in 2010.“This is unexpected. It’s an interesting development and I’ll take the time to consider it,— Ketner said in an e-mail.Other Democrats who might be interested include state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis and Robert Barber, a former minister and state legislator who lost campaigns for Congress in 1994 and lieutenant governor in 2006.