Ketner giving incumbent U.S. representative tough competition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Staff report
The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., reports Rowan County native Linda Ketner has Republican U.S. Rep. Henry Brown fighting to retain his seat.
At times, their congressional race has been called the “grocery store wars” because Ketner is daughter of Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner of Salisbury and Brown, before entering politics in 1985, was a vice president of Piggly Wiggly.
Recent polls show Ketner and Brown even or Ketner a few points ahead.
Democratic congressional leaders are buying ads for Ketner and “have put Ketner on the party’s coveted ‘Red to Blue’ list of races they think are best poised to oust Republicans and install new Democratic House members,” the State reporter James Rosen wrote in Saturday’s edition.
“The 1st Congressional District race also is drawing national attention for another reason,” the newspaper continued. “Ketner is among a handful of openly gay challengers running for Congress across the country. If elected, she would be the first openly gay South Carolinian ever to hold federal office.”
Ketner, 58, has lent $700,000 to her own campaign, while raising an additional $1 million from other sources.
“The 1st District, which runs along most of the state’s coast, remains predominantly Republican,” the State said. “It hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since Mendel Davis retired in 1981.
“Ketner, a wealthy philanthropist and affordable housing advocate whose father started the Food Lion grocery chain, is doing her best to reverse that trend.”
The newspaper said the close contest has featured two televised debates in which exchanges between the candidates became testy at times. Brown has been in the U.S. House since 2001.
The Independent Tribune of Kannapolis has endorsed U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C., for the 8th District House seat over Democratic challenger Larry Kissell of Biscoe.
“Hayes’ experience at a troubled time in American history will give the congressional district better representation than sending a novice to Washington,” the newspaper said in its editorial endorsement Tuesday.
The Post does not endorse candidates.