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.
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