The S.C. Senate has a new leader – and one very familiar to Lexington County residents.
Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield), a member of the Lexington County legislative delegation, on Wednesday was elected the new S.C. Senate Majority Leader by acclamation by the 27 members of the Senate Republican Caucus.
Lexington County legislative delegation member, Sen. Ronnie Cromer (R-Newberry), also had expressed interest in the position.
The 40-year-old Massey, elected in 2007, is considered by many as a rising star in the state GOP party. He will replace Gaffney Republican,
Sen. Harvey Peeler, who decided to step down from the leadership role Tuesday after 11 years in the position. Peeler, who has been in office a total of 36 years, is facing a rare electoral challenge this year. That challenge, his first in at least 20 years, and the desire to lighten his work load as a GOP party leader, were key factors in his decision to step aside, he said.
Among the duties and responsibilities, the Senate majority leader gets to select one of the six members to committees that negotiate differences in bills between the House and Senate, and also helps lead the party caucus in elections.
The majority leader also works to whip up support among senators on legislation favored by the party.
“I think it’s time for a new generation to step up,” Massey said Wednesday in a statement following his election. “I think it’s important that the face of this caucus be someone who is younger, who is energetic, and who is really excited to lead on conservative issues. We’ve got some real issues we need to address in this state, and I think there are conservative solutions we need to put forward to try to address and solve these problems.”
Originally elected in 2007, Massey is in his second full term as a member of the Senate. After winning re-election unopposed in 2012, Massey is facing a potentially tough re-election contest in the June 14 primary against fellow Republican John Pettigrew, an attorney and real-estate businessman. Most notably, Pettigrew’s political resume also includes past roles as Mayor of Edgefield, S.C. state representative, county administrator, and staffer for the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond.
Following Massey’s election Wednesday, SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore of Lexington applauded the outcome.
“Senator Shane Massey is an outstanding choice for Majority Leader,” Moore said. “He is a principled conservative who will shake things up in the South Carolina Senate. Since his election in 2007, Senator Massey has continually focused on good policy ideas that will improve the lives of our citizens. His election today should give encouragement to all South Carolinians.”