Senate Pro Tem McConell agrees to become lt gov.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says he will be the next lieutenant governor in South Carolina.

The Charleston Republican will take over from Ken Ard, who resigned Friday morning amid a criminal investigation into whether he spent campaign money on personal items.

McConnell says he has a moral obligation to follow the state constitution no matter how difficult it might be personally.

McConnell's announcement two hours after Ard stepped down was a surprise. McConnell has been in the Senate for 31 years and leader of the body for the past decade, amassing a vast amount of power.

Some senators though he might step aside briefly and let someone else become lieutenant governor, which has little power except to preside over the Senate.