There comes a point in every 74-year-old man's life when he has to decide whether he wants to be Jack Lemmon in Grumpy Old Men or Jack Lemmon in My Fellow Americans (obscure Grumpy Old Men Go To Washington).
Brown has picked the former. He's expected to announce this morning that he will not seek reelection, making a very competitive race even more very competitive.
A sixth term wasn't certain for Brown, with Carroll Campbell III offering a strong primary challenge, but Brown likely could have ridden his incumbency to a win.
Personal frustration in Washington likely helped with Brown's decision. If there were two things Henry Brown hung his hat on, it was climbing the committee leadership ladder and bringing money home for coastal projects. In the minority since 2006, he's had little success to point to and his frustration with that new reality was evident in his campaign against Democrat Linda Ketner in 2008.
BACK TO THE CAMPAIGN
This is great news for Campbell's campaign, but there's almost certain to be another high-profile Republican entering the race now that Brown is out. Several Republicans were weighing a run last year, but sat on the sidelines after Brown said he'd run again.
Local media had pushed Paul Thurmond's name as a possible candidate last spring, but he told the City Paper at the time that he wouldn't run if Henry Brown was in the race. Thurmond announced late last year that he would not be running for a second term on Charleston County Council.