COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's Republican senators have chosen Edgefield Sen. Shane Massey to lead their caucus.

The chamber's controlling party unanimously elected the 40-year-old senator Wednesday following a closed-door luncheon. No other senator was publicly considered.

Massey replaces Sen. Harvey Peeler of Gaffney, who stepped down Tuesday after 11 years as majority leader.

Massey says it's time for a new generation to lead in a chamber where seniority is paramount. After 11 years in the Senate, Massey remains one of the chamber's youngest members and does not lead any committees.

Massey says it's important for the "face of the caucus" to be young, energetic and excited to lead on conservative issues.

Massey faces a primary opponent in June. If voters re-elect him, he faces re-election as Senate majority leader in January.