Hugh Leatherman: The Emperor Has No Clothes

LIBERAL “REPUBLICAN” HAS LOST CONTROL OF HIS CHAMBER There’s a lot of buzz in Palmetto political circles over powerful S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman drawing his first primary opponent in years … or the fact this opponent will apparently be benefiting from some serious financial support. That buzz may be missing…


There’s a lot of buzz in Palmetto political circles over powerful S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman drawing his first primary opponent in years … or the fact this opponent will apparently be benefiting from some serious financial support.

That buzz may be missing the real story … the aging leader’s diminished clout within the chamber he once ruled with an iron fist.

When Leatherman pulled off his masterful coup to take control of the Senate in June of 2014, only two Senators dared to stand in opposition to him – Tom Davis of Beaufort and Shane Massey of Aiken.

Everybody else bowed down …

The powerful legislative leader – who has wielded near-dictatorial control over the Senate’s budget for the last fifteen years – was at the peak of his power.

It didn’t last long, though …

In 2015, Davis stepped up his defiance of Leatherman – staging a filibuster in opposition to an unnecessary gasoline tax hike that seemed destined to pass the legislature.  Supported by legislative leaders, crony capitalists, liberal media, lobbyists – basically the entire status quo – there was no way this tax hike was going to be stopped.

But Leatherman and his allies couldn’t sit Davis down … and by the time 2016 rolled around, the empowered fiscal conservative had found a new ally in “Republican” majority leader Harvey Peeler.


With Peeler holding “squishy” GOP Senators in line, Leatherman was once again unable to break Davis’ hold over the chamber – and as a result the proposed gas tax hike suffered another ignominious defeat.

This week, Peeler delivered the coup de grace – effectively decapitating Leatherman by stripping him of the support he usually receives from a handful of liberal “Republicans” who form a working majority with the Senate’s eighteen Democrats.

The hammer fell when Leatherman sponsored an amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill on Wednesday which would have taken $400 million in new recurring funding earmarked for the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and cut it in half – routing $200 million to a glorified transportation slush fund he controls.

SCDOT would have been left with $200 million – which Leatherman’s amendment designated as a one-time money.  However the cash for his slush fund was earmarked as “recurring” revenue – meaning it would have been guaranteed in the budget each year.

With Peeler holding down the “wobbly” GOP Senators – channeling fellow Gaffney, S.C. resident Frank Underwood of House of Cards’ fame – Leatherman’s amendment was defeated by a 27-17 vote.

“Leatherman tried to peel off the usual GOP subjects and he failed,” one Senator told us.

In fact the only “Republican” who voted with him was Ray Cleary – the architect of the gas tax hike and a guy who isn’t even running for reelection in 2016.

When was the last time Leatherman suffered a beatdown like that in his own chamber?  Never.

As the defeated, diminutive leader exited the floor, one of his colleagues offered a telling remark.

“What do you call a leader with no followers?” he asked.  “Just a guy taking a walk.”

Pic: Travis Bell Photography


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Duke March 9, 2016 at 9:49 pm

The only reason Leatherman or any other politician has ANY power is because other politicians are more worried about collecting their own power or staying in office than doing the right thing.

Mike at the Beach March 9, 2016 at 11:47 pm

It’s obvious what Leatherman is saying in the photo…

“Listen to me now…I am the HMFIC and chief pimp in this joint, so go home and change outta that pimp-ass suit you got on. Go on…”

shifty henry March 10, 2016 at 12:23 am

” —- and get that tie pressed before you wear it in public again”

Dane March 10, 2016 at 7:16 am

Peeler despises every breath Leatherman draws. It is visceral hatred and Peeler is a arrogant, vindictive person. He wants Leatherman’s leadership so badly, it dominates his every living moment.
Leatherman is a self serving prick; but, so is Peeler. He and his brother have horrible reputations, when it comes to women!, well known and talked about around the Capitol and political circles.
Fits even wrote about Peeler’s proclivity for skirt chasing Harvey and Bob are no Saints when it comes to chasing strange leg, numerous women have talked openly about their activities, around the Capitol Complex.
Leatherman needs to go, no doubt about it. What comes after may be worse than the self serving reprobate we face now.

TroubleBaby March 10, 2016 at 8:30 am

It’s a turf war between rival gang members.

Ned March 10, 2016 at 7:51 am

Leatherman only survives because Republican Senators give him the power. Where are these “conservative” senators? Doing nothing, that is what.

They should take control and give us a fiscally responsible budget!

12345678987654321 March 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

Your statement is incorrect. Will is right on this one in the fact that Democrats along with establishment Republicans (Cleary, Courson, Cromer, etc.) have given him power since the Republicans have been split between the old establishment and the Lee Bright, Tom Davis, Shane Martin, Shane Massey, Tom Corbin, etc. group. Leatherman has relied on the Democrats which is why this vote is such a big deal. Just look at the votes over the past two years and you will find very few that are straight along party lines.

scared March 10, 2016 at 8:28 am

Leatherman is the only thing standing between the current situation and the incredible venality Peeler would bring to the position. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

TroubleBaby March 10, 2016 at 8:31 am

There is no “win” for the taxpayers in this situation, only varying degrees of losing.

TroubleBaby March 10, 2016 at 8:32 am



Flip March 10, 2016 at 10:53 am

How strange! Usually the sewage comes out of their mouths.

Tazmaniac March 10, 2016 at 9:54 am

When you get a guy in there that both Leatherman AND Peeler despise you might be able to become optimistic.

dm10ae March 10, 2016 at 11:23 am

Bobby Harrell was very powerful as have some others in the past because of their life time involvement in politics. Leatherman needs to have his power removed-voted out or what have you.

By Dawns Early Light March 10, 2016 at 11:38 am

The Emperor and his cronies will be clothed before too long; in orange Federal Bureau of Prisons Orange. Its coming (echo echo echo).

RecoveringLobbyist March 10, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Good, the little digger from Florence has been fleecing that state for millions over the years in low bid concrete contracts. Maybe he will get beat, but its great to see some sun shining in the echo chamber and hoping that the Lil Diggers day of holding the budget hostage are waining.

Toyota Kawaski March 10, 2016 at 4:46 pm

yes sir Mr. Davis I will toss your Pluff Mud

Will Folks is stupid March 10, 2016 at 5:25 pm

For the love of God Folks, Massey is not from Aiken! He is from and currently resides in Edgefield. Get your damn facts right.


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