Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson says he will not seek the lieutentant governor position and a possible temporary vacancy isn't an issue
South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell was officially offered the job of president of the College of Charleston over the weekend, and Senator John Courson says his impending departure will not greatly affect the state.
As President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Courson has the option of becoming the next lieutenant governor, but he says that is not his desire.
"It would be an honor, it's a much more comfortable salary than what you make as a senator, you have a staff which I don't have, you have a driver, but it's not something I anticipate doing," said Courson. "My intention is to serve in the South Carolina senate."
Courson says the state has seen a vacant lieutenant governor seat six times in the past century when the President Pro Tempore declined to accept the position, ranging from four months up to two years.
Lt. Gov. McConnell would take office as president on July 1st, after current president George Benson steps down, and Courson says this timeline allows for a smooth transition.
"I will call the senate back probably for gubernatorial vetoes in late June, but we're not in session," said Courson. "The primary job of the lieutenant governor is to preside over the senate, so once we leave in mid-June we're gone for the year."
If Courson calls the senate back for an emergency session, he says McConnell's absence still won't cause an issue.
"I would preside over the Senate and I do that occasionally and other senators preside," said Courson. "So not having the lieutenant governor preside is not a problem because he occasionally does not preside now."
This scenario is only a possibility if McConnell resigns when he takes office at the College of Charleston, but Courson said that is only one of the options.
"He can stay on as lieutenant governor, there's no problem doing that. It's not a dual-office holding situation, and if he wanted to stay on as lieutenant governor he could, if he wanted to resign he could do that too."
Courson says since it's not a dual-office situation, he believes McConnell will serve his term.
This is not only the last week for those interested to file for the lieutenant governor position alone, but the final time at all. In 2018, candidates for governor will choose their lieutenant governor running-mates, similar to the president and vice president.
Students have already protested the offer to McConnell, who is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and participates in Civil War reenactments.
News19 has reached out to Lt. Gov. McConnell and his representatives for comment, but he has not responded as of Monday evening.