Voters elect 22-year-old to SC House of Representatives - - Columbia, South Carolina

Voters elect 22-year-old to SC House of Representatives

Republican Brandon Newton, 22, defeated Democratic challenger Tyler Mitchell (Michael Clark | WBTV) Republican Brandon Newton, 22, defeated Democratic challenger Tyler Mitchell (Michael Clark | WBTV)

A 22-year-old from Lancaster County will be the youngest member of the South Carolina House of Representatives after he was elected Tuesday night.

Republican Brandon Newton beat out Democratic challenger Tyler Mitchell, also in his 20s, for the District 45 seat. The area covers portions of Lancaster and York counties.

Newton is used to the comments about his age.

"Can you drive yet? Are you even allowed to vote? You know, you get those," Newton laughed.

Just months removed from college graduation at the University of South Carolina, he'll now have the task of finding ways to improve funding for public education, crumbling roads and bridges, and other issues that will arise in 2017.

"I've been in politics now for six years, so I've run some campaigns for people, but I've never been the person on the ballot, which I can tell you is a very different thing," Newton said.

Newton previously served as the chair of Lancaster County's Republican Party. Next week he will travel to Columbia for an orientation for newly elected officials.

"It was really cool being 22, and running a campaign, being on the ballot, going to debates, doing interviews like this. I'll tell you it's something most of my friends would never do," Newton said.

Constituents like Christine Tidwell were already well aware of their new representative's age. She hoped Newton would be a breath of fresh air at the state house.

"I think it's very cool actually that the young people are getting so involved and that he got elected," Tidwell said.

While some may have concerns about his experience, most of the people who talked to WBTV said age was just a number.

"Hopefully he'll be able to listen to some of us old sages, who have been around for awhile, who can give some ideas," said Clarence Hoover.

While other friends his age are still in college, or on a first job, Newton is heading into next year eager to go to work on finding funds to fund a long term roads bill. He said that was the number one complaint he heard from folks in his district.

"I want to raise the gas tax 10 cents. I want to reform DOT by making it a cabinet agency," Newton said.

He'll be representing one of the fastest growing areas in South Carolina, including Indian Land. Newton also considered a career in business, like his mother, but instead opted to run for office.

"I think you're going to see millennials stepping up to take leadership roles, and saying, "Hey I can do this myself, I don't need to wait for 20 years to try and fix these problems," Newton said.

Newton and other newly elected members will be sworn in next year.

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