SC-01: Henry Brown Calls It Quits

It looks like House Democrats aren’t the only ones heading to the exits this year — electorally-vulnerable Republicans can get in on the act, too! Cue up a retirement from an oh-so-unsurprising source: GOP Rep. Henry “Smokey” Brown. From the Politico:

Rep. Henry Brown, a five-term South Carolina Republican from a conservative-leaning district, has told associates he will his announce his retirement Monday, POLITICO has learned.

He will be making his announcement at a press conference tomorrow afternoon back in his coastal Carolina district

Brown survived a closer-than-expected re-election in 2008 and was already facing a primary challenge from Carroll Campbell III, the son of the former GOP governor and congressman.

Brown, who was nearly decapitated by Democrat Linda Ketner in 2008, was facing a potentially crowded primary from “Tumpy” Campbell, Mt. Pleasant Town Councilman Mark Fava, Isle of Palms councilman Ryan Buckhannon, and “frequent candidate” Katherine Jenerette. Attorney Paul Thurmond (Son of Strom) has also been in the mix as a potential GOP candidate.

Democrats have been making noises about seriously contesting this coastal R+10 district again this year, but it’s unclear who will be the nominee. One of the leading contenders for the nomination, state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, said that he would make a decision last July, but has since remained silent on the subject. Georgetown restauranteur Robert Dobbs, a political newcomer, is in. Robert Burton, a former South Carolina Housing, Finance, and Development Authority Commissioner and U.S. Air Force Colonel, is also in. Burton has a bit more political seasoning — he lost a statewide race for SC Adjutant General in 1998. Retired navy officer and accountant Dick Withington rounds out the current primary field. Attorney Ashley Cooper, a former Fritz Hollings aide, has also been reportedly mulling the race. We’ll see how this one shakes out.

UPDATE (Cristunity): Politico is rolling out lots of names of potential other Republicans in addition to the ones we’ve already mentioned. Most notable may be former Rep. Tommy Hartnett, who held the forerunner to this seat in the 80s. (Hartnett is 68, not much younger than the retiring Brown.) Other potential names listed by former state chair (and almost RNC chair) Katon Dawson include state Sen. Luke Rankin, state Rep. Chip Limehouse, and state Sen. Chip Campsen. The rumor mill also points to state Sen. Raymond Cleary, state Rep. Alan Clemmons, and… this seems like an out-of-the-box pick, but she may have emerged from last years’ events with her personal popularity increased… first lady Jenny Sanford. Finally, on the Dem side, it’s worth noting that restaurant owner Robert “Bob” Dobbs does have a political track record, as a former county commissioner — unfortunately, that was in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

RaceTracker Wiki: SC-01

60 thoughts on “SC-01: Henry Brown Calls It Quits”

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall the spread was about 5 points – pretty close, but not really “almost” a victory for Ketner.

    That said, the Democrats definitely need to compete with some seriousness for this open seat.

  2. Could this bring Ketner back into the race? I’m still extremely surprised how well she did in 2008 based on the fact that she was a lesbian. I guess an increased AA voter turnout would help any Dem.

    Also would this help persuade Rep.Inglis to retire b/c of all his primary opponents who think he is not wingnut enough?  

  3. Doesn’t this potentially make this seat harder for Dems to win? I didn’t follow this race that closely, but I thought Brown had some weaknesses in 2008

  4. She was a Democrat worth fighting for, and it would have been much easier to hold this metro district than to win an open seat here.

  5. The potential Republican primary field could be a chip off the old block! Seriously, is Chip a common name in SC or something? I guess I can see rich white country clubbers in this district naming their kid ‘Chip’. Definitely sounds like a preppy rich kid name.

  6. This one probably ends up as one of those everybody and your sister deals-think Idaho’s 1st, where Bill Sali won a multi-candidate primary with a number in the 20s. Here’s the take from a South Carolina political operative on the GOP field:

    My guess is that the CfG gets behind Chip Campsen, a Sanford protege-it was once said that he would sell his own grandmother out for a tax cut. Campsen’s just as bleeping nuts as Sali, so this could play to our advantage.

    The South Carolina 1st is not Idaho either, and there is a Dem bench in the district with Leon Stavrinakis as the best choice. There’s also Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, though he’s on the old side (age 65), Linda Ketner will also undoubtedly take a second look at this one.  

  7. who constantly brings race into the discussion whether it has anything to do with it or not?  It really gets tiresome and every time I read one of their posts it makes me want to bash my head against the wall?    

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