Ryberg, whose official list of personal accomplishments includes winning the Eau Claire, Wisconsin marbles championship when he was 11, currently serves as chairman of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. The longtime senator recently led a failed bid to remove Treasurer Curtis Loftis from the board which manages the state pension fund over allegations of a pay-for-play scheme.
While no one has officially announced plans to run for Ryberg’s seat, we expect the race to be very competitive — on the Republican side, at least. Don’t be surprised if either Tom Young or Bill Taylor, both Republican state representatives in Ryberg’s district, jump into the GOP primary later this month.
Also on Friday, The State’s Gina Smith reported that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison (R-Columbia) won’t seek reelection this fall after 23 years in the State House. According to Smith, two of the possible contenders to replace Harrison are former Columbia City Council members: Republican Kirkman Finlay, who left his seat in 2010 after losing the mayoral race to Steve Benjamin, and Democratic 20-year council veteran Anne Sinclair.
The departing Republican lawmakers will join longtime Democratic Sen. Phil Leventis of Sumter, who is retiring from the Senate after 31 years. Announced candidates for Leventis’ seat include Republican businessman Tony Barwick, who announced his candidacy in January, and Democratic attorney Thomas McElveen, the son of Sumter Mayor Joseph McElveen.
Other lawmakers who have announced their retirement include state reps Gene Pinson (R-Greenwood), Boyd Brown (D-Fairfield) and Kevin Ryan (R-Georgetown).