McConnell resignation postponed as state senate adjourns before electing successor

Published: Jun. 17, 2014 at 8:53 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2014 at 9:49 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/AP) - Glenn McConnell's plan to resign as lieutenant governor was again postponed Tuesday, two weeks before he is due to become president of the College of Charleston, when the state senate adjourned abruptly before voting on McConnell's successor.

"I've been trying to resign for three weeks and I can't get out of there," McConnell said late Tuesday.

Democratic Sen. Yancey McGill of Williamsburg said he was ready to leave his seat of 26 years to become elected to president pro tem of the state senate, and from that role, per the South Carolina Constitution, he would automatically become the state's next lieutenant governor.

But eleventh-hour wrangling over leadership postponed that vote.

The Associated Press reports GOP senators say one Republican wants overnight to think about challenging McGill.

McConnell planned to resign his office weeks ago to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest over a critical vote over the future of the College of Charleston. As lieutenant governor, McConnell would have had the deciding vote in the event of a tie, and McConnell said he didn't want to campaign for a vote to turn the College of Charleston into a research university while he was still in such a position.

McConnell's initial plan to resign was halted when the former president pro tem, Sen. John Courson, stepped down from that position to avoid becoming lieutenant governor. McConnell said without a president pro tem, his resignation could have thrown the state into a "Constitutional crisis."

"I've got four different resignation letters written. Not signed, but written," McConnell said. He said he will use the appropriate letter on the date his resignation actually occurs.

McConnell will begin his new job as president of CofC on July 1.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.