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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Former state House member and judge Tom Ervin says allegations that a numbers fixation at the Department of Social Services has endangered children drove him to challenge Gov. Nikki Haley in the Republican primary.

The 61-year-old attorney said Tuesday that testimony about a 4-year-old Richland County boy who was beaten to death in his home was the final straw.

Ervin says Haley's refusal to replace her Cabinet agency appointee is an example of a lack of leadership. A DSS official has acknowledged mistakes in the boy's case but denied allegations being heard by a Senate panel.

Ervin also faulted Haley for promising to veto any gas tax increase to fund road improvements.

Haley campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey dismissed her new opponent, saying she's focused on the legislative session.

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