COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP, WLTX) - Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell says Thursday will be his final day as South Carolina's No. 2 politician.
McConnell says he is having cataract surgery Tuesday and plans to return to the Legislature on Thursday to submit his resignation and say goodbye after three decades in public office.
The 66-year-old McConnell starts next month as president of the College of Charleston. Both he and Gov. Nikki Haley have said the lieutenant governor position should not be vacant for long.
Governor Nikki Haley said the office being vacant for several months ridiculous.
"This is not about what we agree of think, this is about the constitution. If anyone can talk about this it is Sen. McConnell. He stepped up and served as Senate President and when he did, he took that position knowing that should he be called he would have to be lieutenant governor. I give him amazing credit for following the constitution," said Haley. "We don't always like what we have to do, this job isn't always comfortable, but it is our job, and the idea that we are even having the conversation about comfortable, about not having a lieutenant governor for five months is a little bit ridiculous to me."
But Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson of Columbia, next in line to become lieutenant governor, says he wants to stay in the Legislature. He argues the constitution does not require him to take the position as McConnell did.
"He became lieutenant governor with three years left in the term. If that happened with me I would become lieutenant governor, take the oath, become lieutenant governor, serve the term, but I would never, ever run for the office of lieutenant governor. This is a temporary vacancy with the lieutenant governor. We're out of session so I will not be promoted to lieutenant governor," said Courson.
Voters elect a new lieutenant governor in November. McConnell says the state needs a lieutenant governor to perform tasks a legislator can't, like presenting a budget to the governor.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.