| 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