Rowan native talks about her U.S. House seat bid and loss to incumbent

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Rowan County native Linda Ketner lost her bid to upset Republican incumbent Henry Brown by 4 percentage points in last Tuesday’s election for a U.S. House seat in South Carolina.
“I’m sorry we didn’t win,” Ketner, a Democrat, said in a letter to her supporters, “but our numbers and ideas are capable of great impact and change, so don’t be disheartened. When a door closes, a window is opened.”
The U.S. House District 1 seat in South Carolina includes Charleston. While Ketner lost by 13,807 votes overall, she won Charleston County by 10,340 votes, or 54-46 percent. The district includes a total of five counties.
Brown ended up with 176,383 votes, or 51.9 percent, to Ketner’s 162,576 votes, or 47.8 percent. There were 608 write-ins.
Ketner, who is daughter of Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner of Salisbury, said getting within 4 points of Brown was “a number never approximated by any of Brown’s previous competition, a single-digit number not done in South Carolina by a Democratic challenger to Congress in a Republican district in decades.”
The vote total is not official. Some 10,000 ballots have yet to be counted in the final canvas, but they will not be enough to change the outcome.
Ketner’s campaign team held a “visioning night” Monday.
“Send your ideas for how we can best use our power for good starting today รณ and how we get the money to do it,” she wrote to her supporters. “For every idea we need to know your idea of funding it ’cause ol’ Linda is tapped out, as are a lot of you.”
Brown, a former executive for the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain, has been the representative in the district since his election in 2000.