Gaffney Republican Sen. Harvey Peeler announced to the S.C. Senate Republican Caucus that he was stepping down as majority leader, effective immediately.
In a video released by the caucus, Peeler told a group of reporters that it was time for “shared responsibility in the Senate” and that his stepping down as majority leader was his way of “practicing what I preach.”
“What is this going to mean?” Peeler said. “One, it will mean better time management for me. Number two, its shared responsibility in the caucus and three, and most importantly, I hope it will mean I will be the self-proclaimed quality control manager in the state Senate.
“I think we desperately need quality control in the state Senate. I’ve heard the term ‘dysfunctional Senate’ more times than I want to hear.”
Last year, various media outlets reported that it was Peeler who called for Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, to resign from the top Senate post citing the different committees Leatherman was on leading to not being able to lead the Senate.
On Tuesday, Peeler said his clashes with Leatherman were not directly involved in his decision to step down as majority leader, but he added that power should be shared.
Now, the Senate Republican Caucus will meet to find its next majority leader. Peeler said that could happen as early as Wednesday and that the meeting should be open to the press. He also said he was not supporting a particular candidate for the post and added that the caucus was “probably still in shock” over his announcement.
“We all have an appetite for power. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be here,” Peeler said. “So, let the Hunger Games begin.”
Peeler, 68, was elected to the Senate in 1981 and was elected majority leader in 2005. He is chairman of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee and sits on the Education, Ethics, Finance, Interstate Cooperation and Transportation committees. He does have a primary challenger — Kenny Price of Boiling Springs — in the June 14 primary election.
Reach Matthew Clark at 864-235-5677, ext. 107 or @matthewclark76 on Twitter.