Republican Paul Thurmond, 34, issued a statement saying that during the week he had raised $50,000 to run in the 1st District reaching along the coast from south of Charleston to the North Carolina state line.
Thurmond, who did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press, said in his statement his supporters in the predominantly Republican district "are simply tired with the arrogance in Washington and want a representative who's willing to stand up and say 'Enough.'"
He added "it's time to return power to the people and the states where it constitutionally belongs."
Thurmond is seeking the seat held by incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Henry Brown who announced earlier this month he would not seek re-election. Brown will have served a decade in Washington when his term ends.
Thurmond's father was 100 when he left the Senate in 2003 after 48 years. He died later that year.
The Thurmond name will be valuable in the race, said Jeri Cabot, a political scientist at the College of Charleston.
"I don't think it automatically makes him the front-runner, but it's a good bump," she said.
Thurmond is the second candidate with a well-known political name to enter the GOP primary. The son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell, Carroll Campbell III, entered the 1st District race last year.
But Thurmond probably has more name recognition than Campbell, Cabot said.
"Campbell is different because governors tend to fade more quickly. Thurmond was nationally recognized," she said. "I would expect there would be more awareness."
Even the Campbell campaign on its Web site on Wednesday featured a picture of the young Campbell with the elder Thurmond, among other pictures of Campbell with Republican leaders such as President H.W. Bush.
At least two other Republicans have entered the race with still others considering a run. Katherine Jenerette, of North Myrtle Beach, who unsuccessfully opposed Brown for the GOP nomination two years ago, has announced as has Ryan Buckhannon, an Isle of Palms city councilman.
Three Democrats are also running: Robert Burton of Mount Pleasant, Robert Dobbs of Georgetown and Richard B. Withington of Pawleys Island.
Thurmond, an attorney who grew up in Aiken, S.C., is a former assistant state prosecutor in Charleston. He was elected to Charleston County Council in 2006.
Thurmond announced last year he would not seek re-election to the county council, in part because of a growing amount of legal work and he increasingly had to refrain from council votes to avoid conflicts of interest.
He said at the time he was not ruling out seeking other offices.
"I've got a lot of time. My dad lived to be 100," he said at the time. "I'd like to make it to 95."