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Beaufort County Council Chairman Weston Newton announced Monday he will seek election this year to the S.C. House of Representatives.
Newton will run for a new seat created in Okatie, Bluffton and surrounding areas during last year's redistricting.
When state legislators redrew political lines using 2010 census data, the Bluffton area gained another S.C. House seat because of its growth over the past decade. Rep. Bill Herbkersman, R-Bluffton, remains in his current district and will not be opposed by Newton.
Newton said after Monday's council meeting that an extra voice will help boost Beaufort County, which currently "doesn't get the attention from Columbia that it ought to get."
"It's just strength in numbers," he said. "I am excited about the prospect of working with each of the members of the Beaufort delegation, and for that matter, the Jasper County folks as well."
Newton, a partner in the Jones, Simpson & Newton law firm, was elected to council in 1999 and has served as chairman since 2003.
In 2007, he ran for an open S.C. Senate seat, but was defeated by Catherine Ceips 47-53 percent in a GOP primary runoff.
Newton's council term expires in 2014, and he will continue to serve as he campaigns for the November House election.
He said he is unaware of any other candidates for the seat, though filing does not open until March.
Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.