Mark Lutz, a partner in a health-care related software company, says he is deeply concerned about the nation's direction, concerned enough to run for office for the first time.

Lutz, 45, announced he will enter the GOP field for the 1st Congressional District seat, becoming the eighth candidate so far.

The size of the field likely reflects both the vacuum created by U.S. Rep. Henry Brown's retirement and the mood that in this political climate, outsiders have a better shot than ever.

Lutz, a partner in the company virtualFactory Inc., said he will talk about his lack of political experience on the stump. "I'm one of the sleeping giant folks who has been woken from his slumber," he said.

"We must have new 'blood,' " he added. "If we can send citizen legislators to Washington who understand that we can no longer afford to treat the national budget as pork to bring home and who can de-couple the words 'career' and 'politician,' then we begin to head the ship of state away from its rapid decline into government control and back towards our shining history of individual freedom and accomplishments."

More Republicans still could join the field, but it's unclear how many will follow through next month when it comes time to pay the $3,840 filing fee.

Lutz has more than 20 years in the information technology, management and consulting industries.

He said the key to our economic recovery is freeing the private sector by ending the possibility of a massive government takeover of health care, cap-and-trade legislation, and tax increases.

Lutz also supports the Fair Tax, a plan that would eliminate the income tax and replace it with a national tax on consumption.

The other Republicans are Isle of Palms City Councilman Ryan

Buckhannon, Charleston businessman Tumpy Campbell, GOP activist Katherine Jenerette of North Myrtle Beach, former Charleston County School Board member Larry Kobrovsky, state Rep. Tim Scott, Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond, and former Brown aide Stovall Witte.

All of them, including Lutz, are expected to attend a breakfast gathering in Summerville at 9 a.m. Saturday at Kelly's BBQ restaurant on U.S. Highway 78.

The three Democrats are commercial pilot Robert Burton of Mount Pleasant, businessman Robert Dobbs of Georgetown and retired accountant Dick Withington of Horry County. Summerville businessman Jimmy Wood is the Independence Party candidate.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or at rbehre@postandcourier.com.