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Several top Republicans in Beaufort County are backing Tabor Vaux's bid for an open County Council seat -- including the man he wants to replace.
State Rep. Weston Newton, whose election to the state legislature created the vacancy Vaux seeks to fill, was among five local Republicans who endorsed or are supporting Vaux ahead of the Jan. 29 primary for the Bluffton-area district.
Others include state Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort, state Rep. Bill Herbkersman of Bluffton and state Rep. Andy Patrick of Hilton Head Island, according to a news release. State Rep. Shannon Erickson of Beaufort says she does not endorse candidates but has offered her "full support."
"He's a good guy," Davis said. "I have known Tabor for a number of years. He's very intelligent, and he is very committed to maintaining the quality of life in Beaufort County. I think he would do a good job."
Vaux, the 29-year-old son of Bluffton attorney Roberts Vaux, is running against Mark Lawson for the District 9 seat, which includes Daufuskie Island, Old Town Bluffton, Westbury Park and the developments in the New Riverside area. The seat came open last month when Newton resigned County Council to begin his House term.
Lawson, 47, says he's focused on winning over voters, not getting endorsements.
"I haven't put a lot of emphasis on it," Lawson said. His campaign is "going to be a grassroots effort to see who can get the most voters out."
Vaux, an attorney with the Bluffton firm Vaux & Marscher, said in a written statement he was "humbled" by the endorsements.
"When my wife, Erin, and I decided to undertake this campaign, it was decided we would seek the counsel and guidance of our county's senior political leadership, among many others, in hopes of being adequately prepared on all the important issues facing the county, region and state," he said.
"We are humbled and heartened by the level of support and encouragement we have received. I am particularly grateful to my immediate predecessor, Rep. Weston Newton, for his confidence in my ability to carry on the legacy of his 13 years on council."
Lawson, a sales and marketing manager with Servpro who is active in local sports leagues, said he's among the "majority" of Bluffton residents, those who are active in local sports and churches but lack political connections.
"I don't have the political backing he is going to have with his connections with his father and in the town," Lawson said. "However, my backing is going to come from people like myself, who have lived here, go to church here, who have kids in schools here and who have kids in sports programs. That is where my support is going to come from, not necessarily from the higher-ups."
The filing period for Republican Party candidates has closed, and no Democrats are running. If no write-in or petition candidates emerge by early February, a planned special election March 19 won't be necessary, and the Jan. 29 GOP primary winner will assume the seat.