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Three former and current Beaufort County Board of Education members looking to win seats on the County Council and in the state House of Representatives lead a Republican-dominated group of partisan nominees for local, state and federal offices this year.'
Party filing closed Thursday with primaries scheduled for June 13 and the general election Nov. 7. Petition, nonpartisan candidates, including those eyeing school board or municipal seats, will file this summer.'
Democrat Florence Rosse, a former school board member, filed for the House seat representing Hilton Head Island, but incumbent Rep. Richard Chalk first will be challenged in the Republican primary by Tom Herbkersman, brother of Rep. Bill Herbkersman, R-Bluffton.'
Republican school board members Rick Caporale and Stu Rodman have filed and will be unchallenged for two open seats representing Hilton Head Island on the County Council.'
Caporale is running for the seat held by Republican Councilman Frank Brafman, who is not running for re-election, and Rodman is running for the seat held by Republican Chairman Weston Newton, who is relocating. '
Newton is running unopposed in his new Bluffton district, with Councilman Peter Lamb not seeking re-election. '
The race to replace Republican County Councilman Dick Stewart will be decided in November with Democrat Laura Von Harten and Republican Mike Passanite running for the seat. Elected in a special election in 2003, Stewart, who represents Beaufort and Port Royal on the council, announced this month that he would not seek a second term. Von Harten is the cousin of Republican County Council Vice Chairman Skeet Von Harten.'
County Councilman Mark Generales, a Lady's Island Republican, will face primary challenger Paul Sommerville of Pigeon Point.'
Two southern Beaufort County Council members also will face primary opposition. Republican Councilwoman Margaret Griffin will face off against Jerry Stewart, both of Sun City Hilton Head, and Councilwoman Starletta Hairston will compete against Steve Baer in the Republican primary for her Hilton Head Island seat.'
Rep. Kenneth Hodges, D-Bennetts Point, will face familiar competition for his seat representing southern Colleton County and northern Beaufort County, including downtown Beaufort north of North Street and west of Charles Street. Bobby C. Mayes, who ran against Hodges as a fellow Democrat in August's special election to fill the vacant seat, filed Thursday as a Republican challenger.'
Rep. Thayer Rivers, D-Ridgeland, will face a primary challenge from Curtis Brantley, who also ran in 2004. Rivers won that race with 54 percent of the vote. Rivers' district covers all of Jasper County and a small portion of Seabrook.'
Republicans Herbkersman and Rep. Catherine Ceips, R-Beaufort, are running unopposed.'
The 2nd Congressional District will have two Democratic challengers trying to unseat Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. Michael Ellisor, a Lexington attorney who lost to Wilson in 2004, filed for the seat Tuesday, and Columbia talk-radio host David White III filed for the seat Thursday morning.'
Sitting county officials, all Republican, also are running unopposed, including Sheriff P.J. Tanner, Treasurer Joy Logan, Auditor Sharon Burris, Probate Judge Frank Simon and Solicitor Duffie Stone.'
In Jasper County, Council Chairman George Hood will run against James Lowther in the Democratic primary for his seat representing Coosawhatchie. Democrats James Williams and Hubert Tyler will run for the seat held by the Rev. Thomas McClary representing Robertsville.'
Treasurer Verna Garvin will face Charlotte B. Horton in the Democratic primary. Auditor Hazel Holmes and Probate Judge Jody Malphrus, both Democrats, are running without opposition. '
Jasper County Republican Party leaders could not be reached for comment.