Now that Tim Scott has been sworn in as a U.S. Senator, the political air is pungent with speculation about who will replace him in South Carolina’s District 1 U.S. House of Representatives seat. Earlier this week, attorney Paul Thurmond announced he won’t be entering the race, and last night, Charleston County Council Vice Chairman Elliott Summey said he will also stay out of the ring.

Summey’s announcement came shortly after he was reinstated as vice chairman at Thursday night’s County Council meeting. In a press release, Summey said:

Over the holidays, I talked extensively with my family, and we decided that this is not the best time for us to embark on this endeavor. I have a passion for public service and know that I have the right experience to help this state and this nation during these difficult times. But right now, it’s best for me and my family to continue with these efforts locally, here in the Lowcountry and in South Carolina.

Summey did say, however, that he would still be “active in this process” as the race heats up. “I will be looking for a candidate that I believe most closely reflects my own beliefs in fiscal conservatism and doing the right thing regardless of political expediency,” Summey said.

The field of candidates is still broad, including Democratic S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard, Republican Rep. Chip Limehouse, and Mt. Pleasant Libertarian Keith Blandford (for a full list of potential runners, click here). But Roll Call is dubbing former Republican Gov. Mark “Luv Guv” Sanford the frontrunner in the race, pointing to his name recognition and a $120,000 war chest of campaign money.

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