S.C. lieutenant governor’s race could heat up soon

Sellers

— Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell is preparing to run for re-election while a pair of potential challengers weigh bids to unseat the Charleston Republican.

McConnell told delegates at last weekend’s S.C. Republican Party Convention that he would run for re-election, according to reports .

McConnell could face competition in the 2014 Republican primary and general election.

Bill Connor, an Orangeburg attorney who lost a bid for the GOP nomination to former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard in the 2010 lieutenant governor’s race, is contemplating another run.

Connor, 45, said he will wait for his children to finish the school year this month before making a final call on whether to enter the campaign.

“As a family we’ll sit together to make a decision,” he said.

Denmark Democratic Rep. Bakari Sellers also is heavily considering jumping into the race.

Widely viewed as an up-and-coming legislator, Sellers said he will decide whether to run by the end of summer.

Sellers, 28, said he will make the decision based on whether he has a realistic chance to beat McConnell, and whether he can raise the money needed to do so, which he puts at between $1 million and $2 million.

Sellers said his vision for the largely ceremonial lieutenant governor’s post would be to become the chief advocate for the state’s infrastructure needs and take on an increased role in promoting job creation in the state.

“It’s your oyster, you can do what you want with it,” Sellers said of the office.

Sellers said the widely respected standing of McConnell, the longtime former Senate president pro tempore, is a major consideration in whether to run.

“It’s not as if you’re afraid, but you do have a heightened sense of respect for Glenn McConnell,” Sellers said. “He is a stalwart, but there always becomes that moment when it may be time for a change.”

McConnell said he is in the process of getting permission from donors to his former state Senate campaign to transfer their contributions to his lieutenant governor campaign coffers, a step required by law to transfer contributions between accounts.

McConnell has nearly $500,000 in his Senate account, compared to $1,800 in his lieutenant governor account, according to campaign finance records.

McConnell, 65, said he weighed running in the 1st Congressional District special election opened up by Tim Scott’s appointment to the U.S. Senate, but quickly decided against it.

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