Another would-be Republican incumbent has announced he will not seek reelection for his seat on Beaufort County Council.
Steven Fobes shared his intent with The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette on Thursday morning, saying it was “time to move on,” especially given upcoming family visits that would take him away from the county. “I just don’t feel comfortable being gone that much,” he said.
“I’ve been on for five or six years,” Fobes said, “and I’ve got things I’d love to do ... to just be retired again.”
Fobes, who represents District 10, is the second Hilton Head Island representative to announce he’ll relinquish his seat. Rick Caporale (R) of District 8 — which includes Bluffton and Hilton Head — told the newspapers in January that he’d be stepping down when his term expires in December.
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Fobes is the fourth Republican councilman in the past two months to say he’ll stay out of the upcoming June 12 primary, which candidates can begin filing for on March 16, according to the S.C. Election Commission’s website.
Three-term District 6 (Sun City and Okatie) veteran Jerry Stewart announced he would not run for his seat during Feb. 19’s council meeting.
And District 9 (Bluffton, Pritchardville and Daufuskie Island) representative Roberts “Tabor” Vaux, Jr., who filled an unexpired term in February 2013 and has served ever since, told the newspapers on Feb. 26 of his intent to stay out of the race.
“Well, we’re likely going to have a new county administrator and four new council members,” Fobes said. “And that will be a challenge, a little difficult, in all honesty.”
“The leadership is not there,” he continued, adding the council would be losing a lot of experienced members.
So far, three Republican would-be candidates have said they’ll run for some of those seats.
“It looks like the candidates who have come out are pretty strong,” Beaufort County Republican Party Chairwoman Sherri Zedd said Thursday. More candidates might make announcements as the filing date nears, she added.
Currently, Republicans hold eight of the 11 seats.
Fobes, 70, an Iowa native and retired banker and school board president most recently from Colorado, moved to Hilton Head in 2010, according to the county’s website.
During his time on the council, he’s served on the natural resources, finance and community services committees, and as vice chairman of the governmental committee.
He started his stint on council in October 2013, filling the unexpired term of Steve Baer, who resigned months earlier.
He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and University of Denver College of Law.
He and wife Penny have two adult children.