FILE - Nikki Setzler

South Carolina state Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-West Columbia

(The Center Square) – South Carolina Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler's resignation from his leadership role is one of several changes coming to the state Legislature ahead of the 2021 legislative session.

Republicans earned an even stronger majority on election night, gaining two seats in the state House and attaining a two-thirds majority in the state Senate after flipping three seats.

Setzler, D-West Columbia, will not run for reelection as minority leader, after several losses for key Democrats in the state Legislature last week, according to caucus political adviser Antjuan Seawright.

Setzler, however, will “remain committed to being a bipartisan consensus builder in the Senate and working on behalf of his constituents,” Seawright told The State newspaper. “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.”

Newly elected members of the House and Senate were sworn in this week. With new gains, Republicans now outnumber Democrats 81-43 in the House and 30-16 in the Senate.

Republicans gained two House seats after Vic Dabney, a retired Army aviator from Camden, defeated Rep. Laurie Funderburk in District 52, and Sandy McGarry, chairperson of the Lancaster County Republican Party, defeated Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell, who ran for lieutenant governor alongside James Smith in 2018, in District 44.

In the Senate, Republican challengers three unseated Democratic senators.

Billy Garrett, an attorney and businessman from Greenwood, defeated Sen. Floyd Nicholson; Boiling Springs banker Josh Kimbrell defeated Sen. Glenn Reese; and businesswoman Penry Gustafson of Kernshaw County defeated Vincent Sheheen, who ran a competitive, though unsuccessful bid for governor against Nikki Haley in 2010.

Changes will affect the Legislature’s decisions on redistricting, which will be a top issue as results of the 2020 U.S. census unfold.

Staff Reporter

Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.