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South Carolina: Barrett’s Departure Will Make Way for Crowd

Rep. Gresham Barrett (R) announced Wednesday that he is running for governor in 2010, formalizing a move that had been widely anticipated and setting up an open-seat race to succeed him in the Upcountry.

Among the most serious possible contenders for the 3rd district seat are state Reps. Rex Rice, Jeff Duncan and Michael Thompson, as well as a name that needs no introduction on Capitol Hill — Strom Thurmond Jr.

Thurmond, a lawyer, former federal prosecutor and son of the legendary late Senator, undoubtedly would enjoy universal name recognition if he were to run, and he is widely known to have expressed interest in Barrett’s seat in the past.

Rice is considered certain to run and has the ability to devote significant personal resources to his campaign. A wealthy businessman, he also has strong ties with the local business community.

Barrett’s 3rd district seat is staunchly Republican, and Democrats are not expected to contest the open seat next year.

Barrett launched his campaign via an e-mail to state Republicans and an Internet video.

“I am excited about this campaign, and honored to have the opportunity to share my vision for a more prosperous South Carolina with the hard-working people of our great state,— he wrote in the e-mail.

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