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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina House Republican says he's exploring a run for state superintendent next year.

Rep. Andy Patrick of Hilton Head Island said Tuesday he expects to make a decision after the holidays. The U.S. Air Force veteran says the job requires leadership skills more than classroom experience.

Patrick is in his second House term. He lost a bid for Congress in a 16-way Republican primary in March.

The 44-year-old New York native has been a New York state trooper and U.S. Secret Service agent.

Patrick could challenge incumbent schools chief Mick Zais in the Republican primary. The 67-year-old retired Army brigadier general has not officially announced whether he'll seek a second term.

State Rep. Mike Anthony of Union and Montrio Belton of Fort Mill are the current Democratic hopefuls.

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