Palmetto Sunrise: ‘Let the Hunger Games begin’

South Carolina Senate Republicans will decide who their new leader will be today after Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, announced Tuesday he was resigning from the post after more than a decade. “So let the Hunger Games begin,” Peeler said. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Pictured is Donald Sutherland as President Snow in a scene from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.” (Murray Close/Lionsgate via AP)

COLUMBIA -- State Senate Republicans will select from their tributes who will be the party’s next Senate leader today.

The election for a new Senate majority leader comes a day after Gaffney Republican Sen. Harvey Peeler announced his resignation from the post after more than a decade of wrangling votes and speaking for Senate Republicans.

“I asked for someone else to take the wheel of the GOP Caucus today,” Peeler said Tuesday evening on Twitter. “Now I will be a stronger and even more effective Senator.”

Peeler did not say who that “someone” was nor did he endorse a successor after his surprise announcement Tuesday.

Cynthia Roldan found that Sens. Shane Massey of Edgefield, Ronnie Cromer of Prosperity and Larry Grooms of Charleston were popular contenders for the position.

“The chamber is full of qualified people,” Peeler said. “That chamber, if we have the lowest common denominator, is that we all have an appetite for power. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be there. So let the Hunger Games begin. May the odds be ever in your favor.”

The move allows Peeler to become the “quality control” manager of the Senate and focus on his reelection effort since drawing a primary challenger.

The 27 Senate Republicans will elect Peeler’s successor in Gressette building room 209 an hour before the Senate gavels in at 2 p.m.

Rep. Mike Gambrell, R-Honea Path, will soon join the Senate ranks after he secured the Republican nomination in a runoff Tuesday for the late Sen. Billy O’Dell’s seat. Gambrell defeated Williamston Councilman Rockey Burgess and faces no opposition on the May 17 ballot.

The Senate will continue to debate ethics reform and could even approve the bill--which would move ethics oversight from House and Senate committees to an independent panel--today, Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, said.

“This, independent investigations and third-party income disclosure, are the two most pressing parts of it right now,” Martin said.

The move will please Gov. Nikki Haley who has made ethics reform a top priority over the years.

This morning Haley will tour flood damaged homes in Sumter and rebuilding efforts underway thanks to money raised from the One SC Fund she launched in November. Money raised by the fund has provided financial assistance to nonprofit organizations assisting in recovery efforts in affected counties.

Later, Haley will take part in a Federal Communications Commission field hearing in Columbia to tackle contraband cell phones in prisons. Haley and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai authored an op-ed piece in USA Today on the issue.

Today’s headlines:

Matt Moore may be a party man, but he’s no political hack (The Post and Courier)

A vacant lot where Walter Scott was killed, a beleaguered community (The Post and Courier)

Veteran lawmaker calls on senators to pass bill creating independent panel for Statehouse investigations (The Post and Courier)

Boeing employees arrested on state tax-evasion charges (The Post and Courier)

SC House speaker endorses Jay Jordan, sets sights on final roads bill (The Morning News)

NC’s LGBT controversy may affect economic development in York County (The Herald)

Harvey Peeler steps down as Senate majority leader (The Post and Courier)

Gambrell wins S.C. Senate runoff (Index-Journal)

State Dem party won’t certify Powell (Index-Journal)

Hull, Marshall, Ellis top vote getters in unofficial results for Folly Council (The Post and Courier)

Report finds state Transportation Department needs better structure, more money (The Post and Courier)

Clyburn to speak at Community Leaders Institute (The Times and Democrat)

Beaufort, Jasper suffer loss in S.C. Supreme Court (Bluffton Today)

Attorney General Wilson silent on top aide’s smear effort (The State)

Mourners and activists visit the site of Walter Scott’s death on anniversary (Charleston City Paper)

Senate panel OKs chance to forgive S.C. State’s loans (The Greenville News)

Cruz wallops Trump, setting up delegate brawl (POLITICO)

Sanders wins in Wisconsin, keeping alive his improbable bid for the nomination (The Washington Post)

Iceland’s Prime Minister steps down amid Panama Papers scandal (The New York Times)

Race to replace Rubio in Senate roiled by probe of Alan Grayson (McClatchy)

Priebus: GOP Nominee Will Be ‘One of the Three’ Still in Race (Bloomberg)

Top RNC officials meet to discuss contested convention details (POLITICO)