Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, is the latest candidate to enter the race for the 1st District Congressional seat.
Limehouse, a Mount Pleasant resident and co-owner of hotels and a real estate management company, has served in the S.C. House since 1995 and is vice chairman of the Ways and Means Committee that writes the state budget each year.
"I've been there 18 years, and we've had 18 balanced budgets," said Limehouse, who said he is proud of the 2007-08 budget in which state revenues declined and lawmakers cut state government.
"We didn't raise taxes. We didn't print money. We cut state government. That's the fix we need in Washington, too," Limehouse said.
He said he plans to make passage of a balance budget amendment -- similar to the law that requires South Carolina to balance its budget each year -- a top priority if elected.
Limehouse, a married father of two children, also is chairman of the higher education subcommittee and is on the board of the Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which distributes state money each year to improve state roads. His father, Buck, is the state's former secretary of transportationand also ran unsuccessfully for the congressional seat in 2000.
Although more contenders are expected to join an already-packed GOP field, Limehouse said his legislative experience, which also includes creating jobs, sets him apart. As outgoing chairman of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, he recently helped negotiate a sale of authority-owned land to plane-making giant Boeing, expanding the company's footprint to more than 1,000 acres from the current 260 acres.
Boeing has not announced formal plans for the property but has hinted it will grow its North Charleston operation.
"It'll bring thousands of jobs to our region," Limehouse said.
S.C. political consultant Chip Felkel, who helped Buck Limehouse with his congressional run, thinks Chip Limehouse's odds are good.
"In a crowded filed like this, you're looking for someone who has the name ID and can raise money," Felkel said. "He's proven he can do both."