McConnell: I'm pulled away before I can finish


By Eric

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The resignation of Ken Ard as the state's lieutenant governor becomes official Tuesday when current Senator Pro Temp, Glenn McConnell is sworn in to replace him.

McConnell has spent three decades on the senate floor in Columbia. He's now moving to a position he says he never wanted.

"I'm pulled away before I can finish, that's the big thing," McConnell said of his duties as senator.

Reluctant but willing, the 31 year South Carolina senate veteran says his decision to leave the senate, politically, was difficult.

"It's not an office I sought, it's not an office I wanted, but I'll go make the best out of it," McConnell said.

Initially, McConnell says he got advice to resign his post atop the senate. It would have allowed him to avoid the promotion and let the next senator in line take his place.

"And then I'd be elected president pro tempore again. I'd protect my senate seat and president pro temporeship, there was a problem with that," he said. "I knew what that provision in the constitution was, I knew what the letter of the law was, I knew I could spin it, it just wasn't the right thing to do."

The constitution says McConnell's duty in this case is to step up and become the next lieutenant governor. He says he was unwilling to work the system if it meant abusing his oath.

McConnell can no longer be involved in projects like the Interstate 526 expansion, or on the Hunley Commission, programs with heavy ties to the Lowcountry.

"I hope they understand I didn't desert them," McConnell said. "I would have stayed but I do not have a choice unless I contort and spin the wording (in the constitution)."

At the same time, he's not ruled out running again for the same senate seat he's vacating.

"I don't know if that's in the cards at this point," he said. "The district would have to speak, the people I represented would have to speak to me very loudly and say we want you to come back."

That decision may come in the coming days, even weeks. For now McConnell returns to Columbia with honor, he says, over seniority.

McConnell's transition takes place Tuesday, on the senate floor, at noon.