Sen. Hugh Leatherman retains post as Senate’s leader

SC Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman (FILE - WBTW)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Florence Sen. Hugh Leatherman has managed to keep his position as South Carolina’s most powerful lawmaker, despite Republican opposition that said he sidestepped his constitutional duties to become lieutenant governor.

Senators voted 28-16 Wednesday to return the president pro tem title to Leatherman, a day after he resigned the post in what Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey called “a shameless and obvious game of musical chairs.”

The state constitution calls for the Senate’s leader to fill a lieutenant governor vacancy. Leatherman refused to do so. He resigned minutes before then-Gov. Nikki Haley was confirmed as U.N. ambassador, promoting then-Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster.

The Senate voted earlier Wednesday to make Anderson Sen. Kevin Bryant its leader, knowing he’d keep that title momentarily. He was then sworn in as lieutenant governor.

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