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Beasley endorses Campbell for House seat

Former S.C. Gov. David Beasley on Wednesday endorsed political newcomer Carroll Campbell III, who is running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Henry Brown.

"The last thing we need to do now is send another politician to Washington," Beasley said. "It is time to send a businessman to Washington, one who understands what it means to create jobs."

Beasley is a long-time family friend of the Campbells. Campbell's father and namesake was S.C. governor from 1987 to 1995 and a mentor to Beasley, who succeeded him.

Beasley said he was glad to endorse the Republican because he felt he could take something new to the politics in Washington.

"It is good to have someone who understands what it takes to run a business go to Washington, to help with infrastructure, to help cut back on taxes and onerous regulations and laws that put people out of work."

In the past Beasley said he has seen politicians make promises on the campaign trail and then bend to lobbyist and political groups.

"We need a tough conservative who is also a Republican and it's good to have Carroll Campbell," said Beasley, who served as the state's governor from 1995 to 1999 and then mounted an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate.

Campbell used to own a chain of Wendy's franchise restaurants, including some on the Grand Strand. Campbell sold the stores in 2006, prior to the economic recession. He said between 1995 and 2006, his stores helped create about 500 jobs.

Campbell said he plans to release a jobs plan in the next few weeks. For now, he is focusing on improving infrastructure like highways and the port of Georgetown to bring in jobs.

"We need to take a business approach to running our government," Campbell said.

He said the port of Georgetown has the potential to bring in over 200 jobs and he planned to ask federal lawmakers to put in dedicated funding for dredging the port.

The port of Georgetown needs about $9 million to be dredged to its federally authorized depth of 27 feet. The port is currently at about 21 feet, which is not enough clearance for larger vessels and limits the port's customer base.

"We cannot neglect Georgetown," Campbell said. "Georgetown County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state."

Campbell said he also is familiar with the issues of the Myrtle Beach area. Campbell spoke Wednesday in front of the Beach View resort on Ocean Boulevard, the former site of the Cadillac Court Hotel, which was owned by his grandfather in the '70s and '80s.

"I think I-73 is a critical component," said Campbell. "[S.C.] 521 on a Saturday is a parking lot. Why in the world do people want to sit and spend four hours in the car coming from Ohio or wherever it is. We have a major problem out there with our infrastructure. We have got to get it completed."

The 60-mile S.C. portion of the project was estimated at $2 billion, with tolls expected to be used to help pay for it. The long-awaited highway would be the first interstate to link to Horry County and it is planned to run from near Myrtle Beach to the Canadian border at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich..

South Carolina has received about $100 million in federal money over the years for planning and right-of-way acquisition. In February, South Carolina received another $10 million grant in federal stimulus funding for the project.

Campbell faces a crowded field with eight other GOP candidates, two Democrats and one member of the Green Party to contend with.