Confusion mounting over how the next SC Lt. Governor will be picked
COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Once the US Senate approves Nikki Haley as Donald Trump's UN Ambassador, Henry McMaster will become the Governor of South Carolina.
That action is virtually set in stone, but questions have risen over who will become the next Lt. Governor.
The Nerve reported Tuesday and cited a 2014 amendment to the SC State Constitution that reads, "In the case of the removal of the Lieutenant Governor from office by impeachment, death, resignation, disqualification, disability, or removal from the State, the Governor shall appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, a successor to fulfill the unexpired term."
State Representative Jim Merrill echoed that same sentiment in an interview with the State Newspaper.
However, in the SC Constitution it eludes that the 2014 amendment actually will go in effect in 2018. "Beginning with the General Election of 2018, a person seeking the office of Governor in any manner that a person's name may appear on the ballot as a candidate for that office, and before that person's name is certified to appear on the ballot for the general election, shall select a qualified elector to serve as Lieutenant Governor," it reads.
State Senator Joel Lourie and SCGOP Chair Matt Moore both said that is the case and that the Senate Pro Tempore will ascend to the Lt. Governor's position.
"It is my belief and of the Senate Judiciary staff, the old so to speak law remains in effect. The Senate Pro Temp President will become Lt. Governor in some point in the future. We are under the impression from legal counsel that the Senate President Pro Temp will become Lt. Governor next year," said Moore.
That position is currently held by Hugh Leatherman, but Sen. Lourie told WACH FOX Leatherman is unlikely to seek the the number two seat in South Carolina as he does not want to give up his seat as the finance committee chair.
Lourie said the next Senate President Pro Tempore will be selected in December and that person will most likely ascend to Lt. Governor.
Sources have told WACH FOX that a Democratic Senator could be getting that position.