Former school board member Larry Kobrovsky may have gotten early backing for taking over the Charleston County Republican Party’s top leadership post, but a challenger with a long party resume has stepped forward to take him on.

Political consultant Andrew Boucher is also in the mix to lead the party when John Steinberger steps down at Saturday’s county convention.

Boucher has been a strategist on various GOP campaigns, including national political director for Rick Santorum’s past presidential run and adviser to Det Bowers in his run for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination last year against incumbent Lindsey Graham. He previously served as executive director of the New Hampshire GOP.

Boucher said he has the experience to help strategize in the upcoming 2016 state and local GOP races during a presidential election year.

Kobrovsky, who is perhaps best known for representing clients in racial discrimination lawsuits filed against the Charleston County School District, has been endorsed by Steinberger to take over as the party’s next leader, who will be elected by convention delegates.

The convention begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at Orange Grove Elementary, 1225 Orange Branch Road, in West Ashley.

Santorum is scheduled to address the convention, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is considered a “maybe” appearance.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford will be at Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s South Carolina presidential campaign kickoff rally at noon Thursday in front of the aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point. But he’s flat refusing to say if it’s an endorsement appearance or if he’s showing up as a local courtesy to Paul’s invitation.

“He does not want to make news today on that front,” his spokeswoman said last week when queried about his plans.

Sanford, R-S.C., lives in Mount Pleasant. About 500 people are expected to attend the event.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the state’s only Democrat in Congress, says he’s got no timetable on when his long career in Washington will come to an end. But he likes to joke that he knows there are people interested in stepping in at a moment’s notice.

When he shakes hands, “I feel these fingers running up my wrist, feeling my pulse,” he told reporters last week.

Clyburn, 74, has represented the majority black 6th District since 1992.

He said he doesn’t have a choice on a potential successor. “You know, there are a lot of good young people around,” he said.

If U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham gets in the race for president, being from South Carolina could give him a built-in campaign advantage worth millions of dollars.

That’s based on the fact the other dozen or so Republican candidates must start from scratch here, spending money to build up the sort of name identification and infrastructure that Graham already enjoys from his years in state and national politics.

The advantage means Graham, R-S.C, could maximize his cash resources by going all-out in Iowa and New Hampshire before the pack moves south, or that’s at least how some Republicans see it.

If Graham does get in the race, his early target budget is raising between $15 million and $20 million. Ideally most of that would be spent on Iowa and New Hampshire.

For comparison, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — the only formally declared candidate — has set a $40 million to $50 million target to get him through his primary campaign, according to Texas media reports.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is schedule to be on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this morning. It is his fifth Sunday show appearance this year.

Compiled by Post and Courier reporters Schuyler Kropf and Jeremy Borden.