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Ketner may join Senate race

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CHARLESTON, SC -

By Hatzel Vela  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Linda Ketner supporters want the local business woman to run against Alvin Greene and Senator Jim DeMint in November.

Ketner ran as a Democrat in 2008 and almost defeated incumbent Republican Congressman Henry Brown.

Ketner's former Finance Director Doug Warner and former Treasurer Tasha Gandy want to collect more than 10,000 signatures so Ketner's name is placed on the ballot.

Ketner was made aware of the efforts late evening on Tuesday and has not decided whether she will run. In an automatic response via e-mail, Ketner told her supporters her "e-mail has exploded."

Ketner wrote she is "waiting to see if there's a strong response."

"If 10,000 or more registered voters sign a petition, it's something I would take very seriously," she said in her e-mail.

"As we get more momentum and the grass roots builds, I think she'll be ready to make a decision," Warner said.

Five days ago, Warner and Gandy were approached by other Ketner supporters who thought the timing was right for Ketner.

Ketner has been vetted because of her race against Brown, said Warner, who admitted he didn't think it was a good idea initially.  

"The more I started to think about it. People of South Carolina deserve a viable option when they go to the polls in November," Warner said.

Warner pointed out Ketner is not a career politician.

Ketner, a grocery chain heiress, doesn't need anything from the system so she can focus on being a public servant, not a politician, Warner said.

"Yea, it's a long shot but crazier things have happened," he said. "And if ever the time, the time is now that people are looking for a different approach."

On Thursday, petitions were already available at the front desk of Skirt Magazine headquarters on King Street.

The free women's magazine supported Ketner when she ran in against Brown.

"In South Carolina, there are no women in the state senate," said Skirt Publisher Nikki Hardin.  "Our issues are not going to be represented well unless we have women in the Senate, in Congress, locally, nationally."

"I think as citizens of this state, we can't just stand back and let nothing happen. We have to be more vocal," said Phoebe Byers, who came by Skirt offices to sign the petition.

Ketner's possible bid was already getting national media attention Thursday.

"None of us have the luxury of giving up on good government.  There's simply too much at stake," Ketner told her supporters.

If Ketner gets at least 10,000 signatures, her name would be placed on the ballot as a petition candidate without any party affiliation.

The State Election Commission must have the petitions by July 15.

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