Paul Thurmond, one of the dozen or so political heavyweights whose name has been bandied about for the District 1 U.S. House seat being vacated by Tim Scott, announced today that he will not enter the race.
Thurmond, whose political pedigree is obvious to anyone who recognizes his last name, ran for the District 1 seat in 2010, coming in second place behind Scott in a runoff for the Republican primary. In November 2012, Thurmond won a hotly contested race against Democratic contender Paul Tinkler for the S.C. Senate District 41 seat, and he will be sworn in to that position when the upcoming legislative session begins Jan. 8.
In a press release today, Thurmond said he was “humbled by the numerous calls” he had received from supporters encouraging him to run for the national office, adding:
I will not run in the 1st District Congressional Special Election. I will focus all of my energies on implementing the policies that are important to my constituents as their State Senator. I hope that by making this statement, my supporters who have withheld support of an announced candidate pending my decision will be comfortable getting involved in this very important race. I also hope that this announcement assures the people of District 41 that my focus is on serving them, not on political opportunity.
(Bonus Grammar Points if you spot the dangling participle.)
Thurmond’s opt-out still leaves a packed Republican field for the House seat, including former Gov. Mark Sanford, who would be making his first attempt at a political comeback since leaving office in 2011 after admitting to an extramarital affair with his now-fiancée. For a look at the other possible contenders for SC-1, click here.