If Gresham Barrett’s early announcement for Governor wasn’t enough to formerly open the 2010 election gates …

It would seem that Republican Congressman Henry Brown’s close race in November (against Charleston Democrat Linda Ketner) has left a rather sizable bullseye on his back, with at least three names dropped in the last 24 hours of potential Republican Primary competition.

The Hill broke the story yesterday that Carroll “Tumpy” Campbell III is seriously considering a run for the office.

Campbell: “Sometimes we have to make the hard decisions and we have to let our friends go who are serving in Congress, because they’re not getting the job done.”

The Hill story also claims Katherine Jenerette will make another go for the seat. She lost to Brown in a three-person Republican Primary race in 2008.

In a brief Post and Courier report this morning, Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond’s name is also dropped as a potential candidate. While it is likely obvious, it should be noted that Campbell is the son of former governor Carroll Campbell Jr. and Thurmond is the son of former Sen. Strom Thurmond.

UPDATED: Thurmond Tells City Paper He Won’t Run If Henry Brown Is Running

Considering the closeness of the Brown-Ketner race, I think this pack of hungry wolves has made an accurate observation: A big reason for Brown’s overwhelming success in last year’s GOP primary was likely due to the relative obscurity of his two challengers — Jenerette and propane proprietor Paul Norris.

Democrats who might be interested in the seat should take note that, if Brown survives a tough primary race next year, some of his war chest will be depleted. If he doesn’t, a fresh face like Campbell or Thurmond take much of the experience argument off of the table.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.