Friday, March 9

Ard's resignation could shake up McConnell and the State Senate

This blog, and others have accepted as conventional wisdom that when, and I suppose to be fair at this point, if, Lt. Governor Ken Ard resigns due to his campaign finance scandals, State Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell will maneuver not to take the job, as the South Carolina constitution prescribes. It makes sense. McConnell is far more powerful in his current position than he would be as Lt. Governor, except for one thing, the Lt. Governor can be automatically elevated to Governor.

That elevation is no remote possibility in the chattering classes around Columbia. Those who are Haley supporters spread the word that Mitt Romney will be pick her as his running mate. If that is the case, and if gas is five bucks a gallon in November, Haley leaves Columbia to become Vice President of the the United States, leaving whomever is Lt. Governor from the time of her resignation until January of 2015 as Governor of South Carolina.

Those who are more critical of the Governor see a different end. Haley does have some ethical questions out there, and those are amplified by her critics. If Obama is re-elected, is not far fetched to think that some sort of federal investigation might happen on some matters, again, forcing Haley out. As one staffer puts it, it seems like Agnew and Nixon right now when one takes that side of things.

The bottom line is a good many folks are talking about Haley not finishing her term, which makes the choice of the next Lt. Governor, should Ard resign as predicted, all the more important. The odds of Haley completing her term are better than average. Fans and detractors could be just fantasizing in their murmurings. But, the rumors about Haley, good and bad, flying around adds to the intrigue that will choose the next Lt. Governor of South Carolina.

Then there is the State Senate make up to consider, should McConnell maneuver not to be Lt. Governor. It seems Democrats would support Republican State Senator John Courson as the stand in Senate President to be elevated. Maybe some of them really like Courson, but Courson's personality holds a State Senate Seat that Democrats could win should he become Lt. Governor. On the other hand, some Republicans seem to contend for Democrat Nicki Setzler, who holds a seat that but for his personality, Republicans could win. A possible compromise contender is Republican Larry Martin, who is in a primary fight with former Rep. Rex Rice. But, the seat is safely Republican. On the compromise note, Harvey Peeler would be an interesting choice, and would join his brother Bob as the first brothers to hold the office of Lt. Governor.

Further, should McConnell step aside for the stand in, we are guessing his re-election to President of the Senate will not be automatic, unless some deal is cut. Other blogs, and some folks in Columbia say Hugh Leatherman of Florence might challenge McConnell in that re-election.

Don't be shocked if Glenn McConnell, a man with a lot more insider knowledge of this state and its political players than this or any other blog, does not weigh the odds with his knowledge and just takes the job of Lt. Governor, gambling on something more and a shot at history. The calculations of that gamble might include the rumors that McConnell's re-election to the post of President of the Senate is not guaranteed after a stand in Senator is elevated to Lt. Governor. It could come down as an outside shot at being Governor versus a shot at being just a Senator from Charleston.
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