U.S. Rep. Barrett to run for governor

South Carolina Rep. Gresham Barrett

U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett — South Carolina's first well-known Republican to officially enter the 2010 gubernatorial race —said if elected, he would put economic development at the top of his priority list.

"It's all about the economy. It's all about jobs," he said Wednesday. "Too many people think that government is the answer, that government can solve problems. They have forgotten about the hardware store in the middle of the block."

Barrett announced his candidacy as expected via a Wednesday morning e-mail.

Gov. Mark Sanford cannot seek a third term. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, both Republicans, also have expressed interest in running. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden has set up a fundraising account for a gubernatorial bid, and other Democrats also are considering a run.

Barrett, who represents the 3rd District seat formerly held by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, said his other priorities would include saving money through government restructuring, health care reform, improving education and respecting the state's culture.

He previously served in the S.C. House from 1997-2002, and that's where he scored his favorite legislative victory.

"My proudest accomplishment period, state and federal, was helping lead the fight in South Carolina on partial-birth abortions," he said. "It was a wonderful thing to be involved in. We were successful in South Carolina."

Although Barrett hails from the Upstate and ran a business in Westminster, he has at least one Lowcountry tie: He graduated from The Citadel in 1983. Barrett said he will run only for the governor job and will not seek re-election to the congressional seat that he has held since 2003.