Sen. Nikki Setzler stepping down as minority leader
State Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-West Columbia, is stepping down as minority leader after 8 years. The Democrats lost 3 seats in the state Senate in last week's elections.
Setzler will not seek re-election to his leadership position, according to caucus political advisor Antjuan Seawright.
“However, he will remain committed to being a bipartisan consensus builder in the Senate and working on behalf of his constituents and the people of South Carolina,” Seawright said. “Sen. Setzler is also dedicated to fostering a new generation of leadership within the Caucus, and will offer his continued counsel and guidance moving forward.”
Early contenders to fill the leadership spot include state Sens. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg, Darrell Jackson of Hopkins, Gerald Malloy of Hartsville, Margie Bright Matthews of Walterboro, and John Scott of Columbia.
Democrats were eyeing several Republican-held seats this year, particularly in districts around the Lowcountry, in hopes of narrowing the partisan margin in the 46-member chamber from the pre-election makeup of 27 Republicans to 19 Democrats, The Charleston Post & Courier reported Tuesday.
Instead, the minority party not only failed to flip any of their target seats but also lost 3- long-time incumbents: State Sens. Floyd Nicholson of Greenwood, Glenn Reese of Spartanburg and, most surprisingly, Vincent Sheheen of Camden, a two-time Democratic nominee for governor, the paper reported.
The defeats mean Republicans will enter the next legislative session in 2021 with a much more commanding 14-seat majority, making it easier for them to pass more partisan legislation over the objections of Democrats.