Voters in a Bluffton-area district will choose the Republican nominee for a vacant County Council seat today.
First-time candidates Mark Lawson and Tabor Vaux are competing for the District 9 seat, which state Rep. Weston Newton held for more than a decade. He resigned in December after winning the S.C. House race in District 120.
Council District 9 covers neighborhoods around Old Town Bluffton, New Riverside and Westbury Park, as well as all of Daufuskie Island. The district has about 8,000 eligible voters, although less than one-sixth are expected to turn out, according to county elections officials.
With no Democrats in the race, the winner of today's contest will take the seat if no write-in candidate emerges by noon Friday.
Vaux, 29, is an attorney with the Vaux & Marscher law firm and the son of Bluffton lawyer Roberts Vaux.
Lawson, 47, is a relations manager with Servpro of Beaufort County and a longtime coach and administrator with Bluffton-area youth sports leagues.
Both candidates support efforts to clean up the May and Okatie rivers and pledge to work with municipalities on that and other endeavors, including economic development.
Both men, while avowed conservatives, pledge future flexibility on property-tax rates and share a distaste for future school budget cuts.
The candidates differed on an estimated $25 million project to straighten Bluffton Parkway from Buck Island Road to Buckwalter Parkway. The project is still in the planning stages.
Vaux said he'd be open to the project once funding is available, but not now.
Lawson said that based on the sentiment of people he trusts, including Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka, he supports the parkway realignment.