Rob Groce, a Summerville marketing consultant, is helping to ensure this fall's 1st Congressional District race is almost as crowded as June's Republican primary.

Groce announced Wednesday he will run as a Working Families candidate.

Col. Robert Burton of Mount Pleasant had planned to run under that party's banner, but state law required him to withdraw after losing the June 8 Democratic primary to Ben Frasier.

Joe Berry, a state organizer with the Working Families Party, noted that in most cases, the party's candidate also runs as a Democrat or a Republican. Groce is unusual because he is running by himself.

Groce, 42, is self-employed as a marketing research consultant. While he is new to public office, he went to the Democratic National Convention two years ago as a John Edwards delegate.

He faces Frasier, Republican state Rep. Tim Scott, Libertarian Keith Blandford, Green Party candidate Robert Dobbs, Independence candidate Jimmy Wood and United Citizens Party candidate M. E. McCullough.

This fall's six-way contest is almost as crowded as the nine-way GOP 1st District primary June 8 -- one that Scott won in a runoff two weeks later. Unlike that contest, the Nov. 2 election will be winner-take-all.

Typically, candidates run as both Working Family and Democratic candidates, but Frasier is not a typical Democrat. Groce said he never saw Frasier once in Dorchester County during his earlier campaigns and that Frasier expressed anti-union views during a spring stump speech.

Groce, whose campaign became official only last week, acknowledged he has a difficult road ahead, but added, "I do believe there is a shot. I wouldn't be wasting my time or money if I didn't think there was a shot."

He said his campaign will talk about jobs, education, workers' rights, health care and caring for veterans.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or