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Beaufort County Councilman Jerry Stewart announced Thursday he will seek election to the county's new seat in the S.C. House of Representatives.
He will run in District 120, which was created in Okatie, Bluffton, Burton and surrounding areas last year when the legislature redrew political lines using 2010 census data.
Stewart, a Sun City Hilton Head resident, does not currently live in the new district, but he is moving to an area that lies within its boundaries: the Riverbend community off S.C. 170.
That type of effort -- selling his house and buying a new one -- shows he's invested in the race, he said.
"I'm making a significant commitment; this is not just, 'I'm going to throw my hat in the ring,' " Stewart said. "I'm very, very serious about this."
Stewart has a doctorate degree in chemistry and has worked as an assistant professor, founded a technology company and served as an economic-development consultant.
He moved to the Lowcountry from the Boston area in 2003 and was elected to County Council in 2006. His council term expires in 2014, and he plans to continue serving while he campaigns.
Stewart will face a fellow council member in the primary election for the House seat. Council Chairman Weston Newton announced his candidacy for the District 120 seat Monday.
Both men are Republicans and will face each other in the June 12 GOP primary.
"I want it to be a very positive race," Stewart said. "We have a lot of things in common. We have some things we're not in total agreement on."
"I think it's great," he said. "It gives the voters a choice, and it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate what the contrasts are between us."
Time also remains for other candidates to jump in.
Filing forms will be accepted beginning March 16, and filing costs $208 per candidate, said county elections executive director Scott Marshall.
Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.