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Hundreds expected at funeral for late Sen. Hugh Leatherman

Obit-Hugh Leatherman
Mary Ann Chastain/AP
FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2015 file photo, from left, Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, and Sen. Harvey Peeler listen during a joint session of South Carolina legislature at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. Leatherman, South Carolina’s oldest and most powerful state lawmaker, died Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 at the age of 90.

Hundreds are expected to gather Friday for the funeral of state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, long South Carolina's oldest and most powerful state lawmaker who died this month at age 90.

Leatherman's family will host a reception immediately after an afternoon service on the grounds of the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence, according to his office.

Leatherman died Nov. 12 at the age of 90, weeks after he entered hospice care following the diagnosis of an inoperable cancer. The Republican had represented the Florence area in the state Senate for 40 years.

In his 11th term, Leatherman was among the longest-serving lawmakers in South Carolina's Legislature. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and in a state where the governor has less control, he was long considered South Carolina's most powerful politician for his dominance over the state budget.

Leatherman also sat on a number of fiscal oversight boards, including the State Fiscal Accountability Authority and the Joint Bond Review Committee. A new port terminal in Charleston bears his name.

He also played a key role in building up the state's business economy, including backing a massive tax incentive package that helped lure Boeing to the state.

Leatherman had just been reelected last year. A special election to fill the remaining years of his term is scheduled for March 29, according to Senate President Harvey Peeler. Filing is scheduled for Dec. 3, and a primary will be held Jan. 25.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.