The 1st Congressional District race will be the most crowded contest on Lowcountry ballots in the June 8 primaries, at least on the Republican side.
U.S. Rep. Henry Brown's decision not to seek a sixth term opened the floodgates, and nine Republicans rushed in. Two Democrats also will face off.
The Post and Courier asked each what sets them apart and what specifically they will do if elected.
The top two Republican vote-getters almost certainly will meet in a runoff June 22, and the Nov. 2 general election promises another crowded race, as primary victors will face at least four third-party candidates.
The district covers parts of Horry, Georgetown, Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. It's considered GOP turf, and Republicans will hold a debate at 8 p.m. Tuesday on the aircraft carrier Yorktown.
Carroll Campbell, son of the late two-term Gov. Carroll Campbell, is one of the few candidates who entered the 1st Congressional District race before incumbent Rep. Henry Brown bowed out.
Campbell said that sets him apart.
"If I believe it's right for the state of South Carolina and right for this country, I'm willing to take on my party," he said. "I did so 15 months ago against a 10-year incumbent, and I can assure you that was a road less traveled."
Campbell has released detailed plans to curb government spending, including an idea to implement a federal hiring freeze, except for military positions, for a year.
Campbell said his top priority would be to ease government regulations and taxes on small business to put people back to work, and he would fight to dredge Georgetown's port.
He also said he would fight against giving amnesty to those in the U.S. illegally. "I cringe at the thought if somehow this amnesty bill passes and we have a bunch of illegals becoming United States citizens, then we completely lose control. We have over 50 percent of our population living off the system," he said. "We're no better than a socialistic country."
Family: Engaged to Tracy Amick; daughters Blakeney, 10, Barrett, 7
Occupation: Head of governmental affairs consulting firm.
Education: Graduated from Newberry College
Public offices: Past member of the State Ports Authority board, the Central Midlands Council of Governments' Planning Committee and the University of South Carolina Board of Visitors.
Web site: www.carrollcampbell.com
Contact: 469-3400; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson said his life experiences, including combat in the military, plus work in the private sector and on Town Council, are what separate him from the field.
"I'm the most experienced in national security than any candidate. I'm the only combat veteran. I own a small business. I am an elected official," he said. "Some of them are very talented in one or two areas, but not across the board."
He vowed to tackle the federal debt by working to freeze federal spending for three years and return to the principles of the U.S. Constitution. "Without national security, though, one and two don't even matter," he said.
Glasson said he can stand up to the pressure. "Being shot at does give you some perspective. If you've never felt that pressure, it's impossible to see how you're going to deal with it."
Family: Daughter, Brittany, 18; son, Thomas 11
Residence: Mount Pleasant
Occupation: Life insurance
Public offices: Mount Pleasant Town Council, 2006-present.
Web site: www.glassoncongress.org
Contact: 884-8517 (email@example.com)
Katherine Jenerette ran against Brown two years ago and lost. She is running again, emphasizing her diverse experiences, including service as a former 1st District field representative for Brown.
"When you mix motherhood, a USC education with an Army paratrooper and years of experience in local, state and federal government in South Carolina, you could end up with a congressman who is more than just a pretty face in a skirt and high heels on C-SPAN," she said. "That's pretty different."
Jenerette, whose time on the campaign trail has been limited by her Reserve commitments in Fort Bragg, N.C., said she would work to lower taxes and cut red tape.
She also would work to secure the nation's borders. "If we can send unmanned aircraft drones thousands of miles away to take out targets in Afghanistan, we can certainly build a fence along our border with Mexico. Arizona is on the right track, and the federal government's policies on borders, visas and immigration are screwed up."
Family: Husband, Van; son, Christian David, 17; daughters Benjamin Elizabeth, 14; Drake Katherine, 13; and Wilson Gabrielle, 9
Residence: North Myrtle Beach
Occupation: Adjunct professor of history, paratrooper in Army Reserve
Education: Bachelor's degree from Coastal Carolina University; master's degree from University of South Carolina
Public offices: U.S. Congressional Field Representative 1st District, S.C.; North Myrtle Beach Planning Commissioner; North Myrtle Beach Mayors Advisory Council; Horry County Planning Commission Envision 2025 Committee
Web site: www.jenerette.com
Lawyer and former Charleston County School Board member Larry Kobrovsky said he feels so strongly about the U.S. Constitution that he mailed a copy to thousands of 1st District voters.
He said both of his grandfathers immigrated to America and found opportunity here. "If they had not come here, they would have been murdered and killed or lived a life of poverty and degradation," he said. "I believe this country is a miracle in the history of the world, and it's based on the Constitution, and we currently have leaders who have contempt for it."
Kobrovsky said he would meet with other entering freshmen Republicans and urge them to follow principles of limited government, individual rights and free enterprise. He would fight to repeal a law that allows children of illegal immigrants to be granted citizenship here if they're born here.
Family: Wife, Susan; daughters Valarie, 25, Abby, 22.
Residence: Sullivan's Island
Education: Graduated from Haveford College, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Public offices: Charleston County School Board (1993-98)
Web site: www.larrykforcongress.com
Contact: 327-2406; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kobrovsky-for-Congress/305229679052
Political newcomer and Mount Pleasant businessman Mark Lutz said his lack of political baggage makes him unique.
"I'm also the only candidate with a specific action plan of what I'd like to accomplish, which I think is critical," he said. "I don't think we can afford any more to have folks in office who are for lower taxes and smaller government. We really need people to say specifically what they would do, which represents true leadership."
His eight-point contract includes vows to reduce federal spending by 5 percent a year for five years; replace the income tax with the "Fair Tax," a consumption-based tax; phase out federal subsidies; eliminate earmarks; keep bills to 10 pages; limit congressional terms to six years and not run again if he strays from a pledge.
Lutz said he still gets asked what bacon he might bring home to the 1st District, "but I believe those days are over. The goal these days needs to be to keep the money here."
Family: Wife, Carla
Residence: Mount Pleasant
Occupation: Partner in a multimedia software company for the health care industry
Education: Graduated from Porter-Gaud, 1982; bachelor's degree from Amherst College, 1986; MBA from Syracuse University in 1988
Public offices: None
Web site: www.marklutzsc.com
Contact: email@example.com; 972-4174
Clark B. Parker
Myrtle Beach businessman Clark B. Parker also is a political newcomer and said he would apply his experience as an accountant to a budget problem on a much grander scale.
"I've been able to solve small-business problems, and we've got a big government with a big problem," he said.
Parker said he would build relationships with other newly elected congressmen to find realistic ways to downsize the federal government.
"We've got to be able to make government smaller for us to be able to survive," he said. "We can't afford what we're doing."
Parker said the country needs more initiatives, such as the Friendship Medical Clinic, a charity he helped start and currently supports as its treasurer. It receives no state or federal money. "We've got to find creative ways to help ourselves without the federal government being a part of that."
Family: Wife, Marcia; children Bradley, 25, Curtis, 22, Stephen, 21
Residence: Myrtle Beach
Education: Bachelor's degree from Coastal Carolina University
Public offices: None
Web site: www.clarkparker.com
Contact: 333-5754; firstname.lastname@example.org
State Rep. Tim Scott was waging a strong campaign for lieutenant governor when Brown's surprise decision caused him to switch gears and enter the 1st District race.
Scott said that race better meshes with his desire to work to limit government, lower taxes and reduce government spending.
"I have a record of that on the state level and the local level," he said. "The opportunity to do that on the national level would be incredible."
Scott said owning a small business and growing up in a single-parent home have shaped his political philosophy. "I learned very early you have to scrape and scrap for what you've got," he said.
Scott said he would work to repeal or replace the federal health care bill passed this year and would focus on cutting spending. "I also would start looking at ways to permanently end the death tax and capital gains tax. Illegal immigration is a very important issue as well."
Residence: North Charleston
Education: Charleston Southern University, 1988
Public offices: Charleston County Council 1995-2008; state representative 2009-present
Web site: www.votetimscott.com
Contact: 469-0342 email@example.com
Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond, son of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, said his diverse background in teaching, working as a prosecutor and working in every level of government sets him apart.
"Nobody else has that type of background," he said, adding that he would bring the same honesty and integrity to the halls of Congress that he has shown on County Council.
He said he favors across-the-board tax cuts to create new jobs and drastic cuts in federal spending -- to the point where the federal budget is balanced.
He noted that the average federal employee makes $70,000, while the average private sector worker makes $40,000. "I think we have over 300 (federal) economic development programs. Why do we need that?" he said. "I frankly think the federal government has no business in education."
Thurmond said he sees the nation's defense policy as weak, particularly in light of the recent car bomb found in Times Square. "I'm worried that as we have more and more terrorists getting into our country, we would not be safe," he said.
Thurmond noted that he had to close his ice cream shop during the recession, partly because of the raise in the minimum wage.
"When people are out there hurting at this point, I feel like I not just sympathize but empathize with them. I didn't get bailed out. I'm reminded every month when I make a payment to the bank of the risks that I took."
Family: Wife, Katie; sons Thad, 5, and Fletch, 2.
Residence: James Island
Occupation: Lawyer and businessman
Education: Bachelor of science in organizational development, Vanderbilt University; University of South Carolina School of Law
Public offices: Charleston County Council, 2007-present
Web site: www.paulthurmond.com
Contact: 323-5660; firstname.lastname@example.org
Stovall Witte has served in the military and most recently worked as a vice president at Charleston Southern University, but he said his six years of service in Washington, including a few as Brown's chief of staff, gives him an edge.
"Frankly, I don't think I have a learning curve. I've been there and done that," he said. "You're one of 435 people, but if you know your way around, it's easier to build that consensus."
Witte said he didn't become a Washington lobbyist or insider after he left his congressional job. Instead, he moved to South Carolina.
"I want to do everything I can to reverse Obamacare -- to repeal it or de-fund it as best we can," he said. "I'm also very interested in doing something to get our spending under control. I think part of that is reform of the tax code."
Witte said he also supports replacing the income tax with the Fair Tax, a national sales tax with measures to protect lower-income taxpayers.
Family: Wife, Jan; children Meredith, 29, Evelyn, 27, Stovall, 24
Occupation: Retired Army lieutenant colonel, former chief of staff for Rep. Henry Brown and vice president for advancement and marketing at Charleston Southern University
Education: Bachelor's degree from The Citadel; two master's degrees from Florida Institute of Technology, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Public offices: None
Web site: www.witteforcongress.com
Contact: 412-2207; email@example.com
Robert D. Burton
Robert Burton, a 32-year Air Force veteran who currently works as a commercial airline pilot, said his military experience sets him apart.
"The war on terror is far from over," he said. "I'm going to show voters I have the right credentials to represent them on national security issues."
Burton said he's also a pragmatist willing to reach across the aisle to work on tough issues, like keeping Social Security solvent.
His top priority, he said, would be creating jobs by doing such things as ensuring the state's ports remain dredged and Interstate 73 to Myrtle Beach is built.
Burton's job creation ideas also include giving businesses tax credits for hiring new employees, lowering federal taxes on small businesses and searching for new technology and energy-related jobs.
He said his experience as a pilot also would help him ensure that Congress is doing what it can to help keep the nation's airports safe from terrorists.
Family: Wife, Nancy; daughters English Ann, 24, Lauren Elizabeth, 20
Residence: Mount Pleasant
Occupation: Commercial airline pilot; retired as a reserve officer in the Air Force
Education: Graduated from University of South Carolina
Public offices: None
Web site: www.robertburtonforuscongress.com
Contact: 843-478-2997; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Frasier, a businessman who has split his time between Charleston County and Washington, D.C., has campaigned many times before.
A former chauffeur for the late 1st District Rep. L. Mendel Rivers, Frasier said he makes no apologies for running for the office every two years since 1972, except for two election cycles.
While he has never won, "it's something I feel passionately about deep down in my heart," he said.
Frasier's political goals almost sound more Republican and include lower taxes, smaller government and fewer regulations, protecting the right to bear arms and closing off the Mexican border.
Frasier said he is a conservative, "blue dog" Democrat who also wants to make sure South Carolina remains a right-to-work state, and that the nation's defenses remain strong.
Family: Wife, Zenn.
Residence: Charleston County
Education: Attended Vorhees College and Howard University
Occupation: Self-employed owner of transportation company.
Public offices: None
Web site: None
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or email@example.com.
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