If you recently moved into Horry County, you are quickly learning that the S.C. Governor has very limited powers.
The governor, although able to veto bills and specific items in the budget, has much less authority over state government than does the legislative branch. The General Assembly, South Carolina’s legislature, comprises two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Senate leadership is where the true power is held.
Until his passing last week, the most powerful politician in S.C. was Hugh Leatherman of Florence, S.C. Leatherman was the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. For Fiscal Year 2021–2022, the total state budget is $31 billion.
The Finance Committee Chairman has control of that budget, giving him enormous powers state-wide across all Senate committees.
For decades, Leatherman brought home the resources to the Florence area. He ruled the state with an iron fist.
Sea Change in leadership
With Leatherman’s passing, the Senate has chosen Harvey Peeler as the next Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Harvey Peeler is a dairy farmer turn politician who has represented the 14th District since 1981, initially as a Democrat, and from October 1989 forward, as a Republican. He is currently 73 years old.
Peeler has been the President of the S.C. Senate.
Peeler is much more conservative than Leatherman.
Highway I-85 runs from Greenville heading north to Blacksburg. It is part of S.C.’s red meat conservative upstate.
THE NEW SENATE PRESIDENT
The number two job in the S.C. Senate now belongs to Senator Thomas C. Alexander. Alexander represents Pickens and Oconee Counties near Greenville, S.C.
This upstate area is also among the most conservative in the state.
A “RINO” WITH NO OPTIONS FOR MOVING UP
Senator Luke Rankin of Horry County was passed over as his peers looked for its next group of key leaders. While the process is based largely on seniority, Rankin has served in the Senate for now over 29 years. He was a close ally of Leatherman.
WHY LEADERSHIP MATTERS
Controlling the senate budget and the senate agenda has historically meant greater funding for the districts of top leadership.
Rankin still heads the Judiciary, giving him great say in the direction of the S.C. Court system, however, issues surrounding the Alex Murdaugh murders and the corresponding Hampton County Judge appointed by Rankin leave him exposed.
Horry County Growth
Horry County will surpass Greenville, S.C. in population by 2023. This growth empowers the residents of the county, but until Horry County begins to elect real conservatives that are more closely aligned with the current state-wide “red wave”, our future will mirror those RINOs currently leading our local delegation.