Ard's former opponent reacts to resignation and charges

Lt Col Bill Connor (WCIV)

By Nikki Gaskins

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Lt. Col. Bill Connor says he was suspicious of former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard's fundraising during the campaign.

Connor, who is a Citadel graduate and war hero, ran against Ard for Lieutenant Governor in 2010, but he lost in a runoff.

"For the voters, the people of South Carolina, they do need to know the truth," Lt. Col. Connor said Friday.

He said he was sitting inside his law office in Orangeburg, when he learned the fate of his former opponent.

"Quite frankly, I'm disappointed in our former lieutenant governor. I also want to praise Attorney General Alan Wilson for having sought justice, because justice should be done."

Connor said he was a candidate with little name recognition when he ran in 2010.

Shortly after Ard was sworn in, an ethics commission began an investigation into his campaign finances.

"We were both fighting so hard for support for donations and having to play by the rules. ...To find out that hadn't been the case is bittersweet," Connor said.

He believes that if the charges against Ard were brought on early, he may have become South Carolina's second highest in command.

"The most critical part of a campaign is that first full fundraising quarter with an opponent, and showing people you can gather the support."

While he can't change the outcome from the last election, Connor says he's not ruling out a second run for lieutenant governor.

"If I felt called, this is something I would like to do," he said.

Despite the indictments against Ard, Lt Col Connor says his thoughts and prayers go out to his family.