It is disappointing for us and many others in the state to learn Glenn McConnell will not seek another term as lieutenant governor. Instead, the long-serving senator who found himself thrust into the lieutenant governor's office when Ken Ard resigned in disgrace, hopes to take the helm of his alma mater, College of Charleston.
McConnell, a gentleman of high ethical standards and a statesman in the truest sense, is apparently ready to hang up his political robe in exchange for the presidential garb.
No doubt there will be some attacks on McConnell, charges he's seeking the post because his pay will skyrocket from $46,545 to nearly $400,000. Current College of Charleston president George Benson's salary is $380,000. And McConnell does have a good shot at the post, hailing from the Lowcountry and equipped with strong support from fellow lawmakers. Plus, school trustees are appointed by the state's lawmakers.
But knowing what we do about McConnell, we firmly think his desire to leave state politics and serve his alma mater is rooted in sincerity and not based on the impact the post would have on his bank account. If that were the case, McConnell could have left the business of the Statehouse years ago.
Again, we point to the man's integrity. He could have pursued the presidential post while simultaneously launching a re-election campaign. The college post will likely be filled sometime in March, enabling McConnell to keep both balls in the air. Instead, McConnell had this to say: "Any effort to pursue both goals at the same time is simply not an honorable path. It would not be fair to good candidates who may want to seek this (lieutenant governor) office. Most of all, it would not be fair to the voters of South Carolina to ask them to support me for lieutenant governor if there is even a chance I might not remain in the campaign. For those reasons, I have decided I will not be a candidate for re-election. And I will instead formally offer my name for consideration to the College of Charleston."
If College of Charleston's reins are handed to McConnell the institution of higher education will be in caring and capable hands. But you know, the state surely could use more Glenn McConnells in Columbia. His influence there will be missed.