Bluffton Oyster Co. owner Larry Toomer files for Town Council

dburley@islandpacket.comSeptember 4, 2013 

Larry Toomer

STAFF PHOTO

Larry Toomer, owner of Bluffton Oyster Co., has entered the race for one of two seats on the Bluffton Town Council, becoming the seventh candidate to file for the Nov. 5 election.

Toomer ran unsuccessfully for council in 2005.

"I've been here pretty much my whole life," said Toomer, who filed Wednesday. "I'm just trying to do whatever I can to preserve the way Bluffton is ... to make sure we don't lose that quality of life that so many people are attracted to."

Toomer's family has been in the seafood business in the Bluffton area since the early 1900s, he said.

In 1992, Toomer and his wife, Tina, took over the Bluffton Oyster Co., the last full-time oyster-shucking business in South Carolina. The Toomers also run the Bluffton Family Seafood House.

Larry Toomer said he still works on the May River every day, and his children help with the shucking business and the restaurant.

"If the plan works, I expect my six grandchildren to be here doing the same things we are now," he said.

Six other candidates are running for the two council seats, which will be filled in the at-large, nonpartisan election. They include incumbents Michael Raymond and Mayor Pro Tem Oliver Brown.

The others are Gary Bensch, husband of Beaufort County Councilwoman Cynthia Bensch; Garfield Moss, who ran unsuccessfully for Town Council in 2008; businessman Bill Roe; and former Councilman Fred Hamilton.

Hamilton, who filed Tuesday, defeated Toomer in the 2005 Town Council race and served six years before losing a re-election bid in 2011.

Filing for the two seats opened at noon Aug. 7 and closes at noon Friday. Anyone planning to vote in the election must be registered by Oct. 5.

Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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