Beaufort News

Parts of northern Beaufort County could get new state senator

The town of Port Royal, Lady's Island and St. Helena Island might get a new, Charleston-based state senator under a redistricting plan released Thursday by the S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee.

If the plan is adopted, the district held by state Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, would stretch down the coast from his residence north of Charleston Harbor to the Broad River, picking up much of northern Beaufort County.

Senators can amend the plan during hearings next week but have already discussed it internally.

"What I understand is a lot of effort is put into the front end to come up with a plan that a super-majority of senators agree with," said state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort. "I think what you're looking at is fairly well representative of what's going to emerge."

Campsen said he has family in Beaufort and "will make every effort that I can to adequately serve the folks and be there" if the map is adopted.

Davis said GOP voters will find much to like in Campsen.

"Chip is very similar to me in terms of his conservative politics," he said.

Under the plan, Davis would still represent downtown Beaufort, Hilton Head Island and Daufuskie Island in the Senate. He would keep portions of Bluffton but would lose some areas south of the May River.

State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, D-Ridgeland, would pick up pieces of southern Bluffton but would lose St. Helena Island.

Pinckney said he would like to keep St. Helena, but said he will support the plan, which maintains his district's "rural, small-town" feel.

"It's never a perfect process; no one leaves 100 percent happy," he said. "But you know, it's the process."