Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Glenn McConnell will succeed Ken Ard as the next Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina.
In a statement issued just before noon, McConnell confirmed he would take his constitutionally mandated elevation to that position.
"This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have faced," McConnell said in a statement. "
Ard resigned his post earlier in the morning.
South Carolina's Constitution says that the Senate Pro Tempore--McConnell's previous position--must become Lt. Governor if that officer can no longer serve.
"That is the duty of the office of the President Pro Tempore," McConnell said.
He will take the oath of office next week.
There had been speculation in the days leading up to Ard's resignation that McConnell might not want the job, since the Senate Pro Tem is a more politically powerful office. Richland County Senator John Courson told WLTX he would have been willing to take the position, if it somehow became available. For that to have happened, though, McConnell would have had to resign as Pro Tem before Ard stepped down as lieutenant governor, then ask senators to re-elect him as Pro Tem.
Ultimately, it appears McConnell felt that political maneuvering wouldn't be in the spirit of the law.
"My entire political career I have fought to uphold the Constitution and I will not today no matter how difficult it may be to me personally" McConnell said. "It is more important that I exercise the duties of the office for which I have been elected and uphold my oath. I will not contort the words of both the Constitution and my oath of office to keep a position that I might personally prefer."
"The greatest honor of my career has been representing the people of District 41 in the South Carolina Senate. But I came here with a deep commitment to the Constitution, and I will not abandon it today."
McConnell has served in the Senate since 1981, and became President Pro Tem in 2001. He also is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.