S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell received a big vote of confidence Wednesday as House members overwhelmingly re-elected him to another term as the House's leader.
Harrell, a Charleston Republican who has been speaker since the summer of 2005, won 112 votes to five for his Republican challenger, state Rep. Ralph Norman, during the House's organizational meeting for the session that starts in January.
Norman, a Tea Party favorite and Rock Hill real estate developer, said he expected to lose but wanted to take a stand against the GOP status quo.
Both Republicans and Democrats backed Harrell's re-election.
"Most Democrats feel that, for the most past, (Harrell) has been fair," said state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg.
Harrell said his priorities for his two-year term include passing legislation to help businesses grow jobs, passing tort reform, streamlining state agencies to save the state money, imposing spending caps and increasing transparency so voters can better see what lawmakers are up to. "We must continue down a path that leads to more jobs and better government."