Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell will declare Monday whether he'll step away from a longtime political career to concentrate on pursuing the soon-to-be-vacant College of Charleston president's job.
McConnell did not respond to phone messages Friday, but his longtime political adviser, Richard Quinn of Columbia, confirmed McConnell is working on a statement to release that day.
Quinn would not venture a guess on McConnell's intentions but said he doubted he would pursue both posts simultaneously, setting up an either/or situation for the Charleston Republican.
"I get the sense he's thinking it would not be honorable to do both," Quinn said.
McConnell, 66, likely would not want to be out raising campaign money or seeking election-year endorsements at the same time he was after the college president's post, he added.
Either way, the stakes would be high. There's no guarantee McConnell would have the inside track to land the C of C job, which is currently the subject of a nationwide application process.
And if McConnell opts against defending the lieutenant governor's office in June's Republican primary, it would mean the end a decades-long political career for one of Charleston longest-serving politicians.
Quinn said McConnell's popularity would make him the favorite to win the office again.
McConnell, a former state senator, previously was one of the most powerful leaders in state government when he served as leader of the Senate as its president pro tempore.
But he was forced to give up that position and assume the role of lieutenant governor when previous office holder Republican Ken Ard resigned amid an ethics scandal in 2012.
The landscape began to shift again last year when McConnell's name began to surface by local lawmakers as a worthy successor to current C of C President George Benson, who is stepping down in June. McConnell is a 1969 graduate of the college.
The timing of McConnell's announcement Monday is also affected by the calendar. The deadline to apply for the president's post is Jan. 14. As of mid-December, McConnell said he had not made up his mind on whether he would apply.
If McConnell does decide to stay on as lieutenant governor, the filing period to defend the seat opens during the last two weeks of March. Because he was constitutionally appointed to the lieutenant governor spot, the GOP primary would be McConnell's first test at a statewide election.
One Republican has announced for the lieutenant governor, retired Charleston developer Pat McKinney. One Democrat is also in the race so far, state Rep. Bakari Sellers, of Denmark.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.
Notice about comments: