COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell now says he will stay in office through June 19, following the resignation of Sen. John Courson as Senate Pro Tem on Wednesday.
The new plan is contingent on an as-yet unnamed state senator agreeing to allow himself to be nominated and elected as the next senate pro tem, with the understanding that the lawmaker would then move immediately into the lieutenant governor role once McConnell officially resigns. If a replacement for Courson is selected before June 19, McConnell will resign as lieutenant governor at that point, he said.
McConnell had originally planned to step down from office Thursday, ahead of a critical vote that could transform the College of Charleston into a research university that would be known as the University of Charleston. McConnell said he did not want to lobby for the vote while he was still lieutenant governor, because the state's Constitution dictates that the lieutenant governor is also president of the state senate and has the power to break a tie vote.
A senate president pro tem is the successor to the lieutenant governor, according to the state Constitution, and without a senate president pro tem in place, McConnell felt resigning would "provoke a Constitutional crisis," he said.
McConnell said talks are underway in the senate for the unnamed senator to agree to run for the role, but would not identify the senator.
"The state needs a lieutenant governor," McConnell said.
McConnell, a Charleston native and 1969 graduate of CofC, accepted the presidency of the college last month to become the college's 22nd president, signing a five-year contract. McConnell was himself president pro tem of the State Senate on March 13, 2012, when he became lieutenant governor following the resignation of then-Lt. Gov. Ken Ard.
McConnell says he must get to work full-time on his duties as CofC president, a role he will officially assume on July 1.
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