Rep. Henry Brown (R)
Elected: 2000, 5th term.
Born: Dec. 20, 1935, Bishopville .
Education: attended The Citadel; Baptist Col..
Family: Married (Billye); 3 children.
Military career: SC Natl. Guard, 1953-62.
Elected office: Hanahan City Council, 1981-85; SC House of Reps., 1985-00.
Professional Career: V.P., Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., 1958-85.
The congressman from the 1st District is Henry Brown, a Republican elected in 2000. Brown announced on January 4, 2010 that he would not seek re-election to a sixth term, saying he wanted to spend more time with his wife of 54 years, Billye Brown, and his children and grandchildren. In a prepared statement, Brown said, “I chose to make the announcement at this time so that Republicans who have not considered running for Congress out of friendship or respect for my incumbency can consider their options to file and have adequate time to campaign.” The GOP should have no trouble keeping this seat in the November 2010 election.
|Henry Brown (R)||177,540||(52%)||($1,287,308)|
|Linda Ketner (D)||163,724||(48%)||($2,248,361)|
|Henry Brown (R)||42,588||(70%)|
|Katherine Jenerette (R)||11,488||(19%)|
|Paul Norris (R)||6,718||(11%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (60%), 2004 (88%), 2002 (89%), 2000 (60%)
Brown grew up on a small farm in Cordesville in Berkeley County, worked at the Charleston Naval Shipyard as his father had, and then spent almost 30 years working for the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain, where he eventually became a vice president. In 1981, at age 45, Brown was elected to the City Council in Hanahan, north of North Charleston. In 1985, he was elected to the state House in a special election, and ultimately rose to chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, where he shepherded the largest tax cut in state history. When Republican Mark Sanford, first elected to the U.S. House in 1994, made clear he would keep his promise to serve only three terms, Brown and other Republicans started running for the seat after the 1998 election. Brown stressed issues of concern to the district’s many senior citizens—property tax relief and shoring up the Social Security fund. To boost his name recognition, he distributed 20,000 “Oh! Henry” chocolate bars. Brown won endorsements from many legislators and from Christian conservatives. Buck Limehouse, his chief opponent and a Charleston developer, spent $790,000 to Brown’s $315,000 and had the support of most party leaders. In the six-candidate primary Brown led 44%-34%. In the runoff, he won 55%-45%. In the anticlimactic general election, Brown won 60%-36%.
In the House, Brown has moved his conservative voting record toward the center of his party in recent years. He is the ranking member of the Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee, which allows him to oversee aquaculture programs at Fort Johnson, which was built in the harbor in 1704 and has become a prominent marine biology laboratory. Even in this coastal district, he was a big booster of off-shore drilling during a heated partisan debate over the issue in 2008. “Have you ever heard of a natural gas spill?” he said. In the event that military detainees were released from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, he sought in 2008 to assure that they were not transferred to a Navy brig in Charleston.
Looking after the interests of his district, Brown brokered a deal to add a Veterans Affairs facility next to the Medical University of South Carolina. He also helped to secure $81 million to connect Interstate 73 with Myrtle Beach. But he got some negative attention at home in 2004, when brush that he was burning on his property, with a permit, jumped to adjacent federal lands and burned 20 acres. When the U.S. Forest Service fined him, Brown threatened to retaliate with congressional action. He ultimately paid a $250 fine plus $4,700 in fire-fighting costs.
In 2008, Brown unexpectedly faced his first close re-election since he took office. His opponent, Democrat Linda Ketner, ran an aggressive campaign, including an ad that criticized his dealings with the Forest Service on his brush fire. She advocated an 18-month deadline for a troop withdrawal from Iraq, a reduction in carbon emissions, and increased reliance on renewable fuels. She spent $2.2 million, nearly half of it from her fortune as an heiress to the Food Lion supermarkets; Brown spent nearly $1.3 million. Ketner, who was running her first campaign, said that she is openly gay and had a female partner. Brown did not make an issue of her lifestyle, though he criticized her support of gay marriage as part of her “ultra-liberal record.” He won 52%-48%. In Charleston County, which cast 37% of the total vote, Ketner led 54%-46%; Brown won the other four counties, including 57%-43% in Horry.