FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Businessman Mike Reichenbach is the first person to announce they are seeking the Republican nomination for the South Carolina State Senate, in the special election to fill the term of the late Senator Hugh Leatherman.

He said he has four main priorities that will make him the right choice.

“Faith, family, community and business. Faith is so vitally important you know because we talk about separation of church and state, you hear that, but you can’t separate God from our hearts and that drives our decision making,” Reichenbach said.

The filing period for the seat opens on Dec. 3, with the Special Republican Primary set for Jan. 25, 2022. For 13 years, Reichenbach served the Pee Dee area. He owns three car dealerships, and is the former Chairman of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

“Helping Florence Work Project that I personally launched. It’s a combination of bringing Florence Darlington Tech together with Florence School District One because the technical education system is so important to our area. A lot of great jobs go unfilled because we don’t have the workforce and a lot of companies see that we don’t have the workforce and they pass us up.”

Reichenbach said he understands he has some big shoes to fill to run after Senator Leatherman’s seat, but it’s a job he put many years in preparing for.

“He was a business owner when he first began. He understood the late nights when you stay up and you worry about your employees, you worry about their families, you understand that the way to make a community stronger is by having better jobs where people are able to earn a good living and keep their kids coming back there and their grandkids. They want to stay there because there’s good opportunities for employment.”

For the past 41 years, the late State Senator Hugh Leatherman held the seat for Florence. Leatherman died at the age of 90 on Nov. 12, according to the South Carolina Republican Party. He was South Carolina’s oldest and most powerful state lawmaker.

Florence County Voter Registration & Elections officials said that staff are meeting daily to prepare for training poll workers, which will be held Jan. 6, 10, and 13.  Delivery of voting machines/equipment will be held Jan. 14 and 24. For more information on voting click here.

A full biography of Reichenbach can be found on his website.