COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) - Glenn McConnell has been sworn in as the lieutenant governor of South Carolina.
McConnell took the oath of office shortly after noon Tuesday from Chief Justice Jean Toal.
"Today I simply perform the duty I swore to do when I took the oath of office as president pro tempore," said McConnell.
Former lieutenant governor Ken Ard resigned last week just hours before pleading guilty to political corruption charges, setting in motion a power shift in state government.
The Charleston Republican reluctantly gives up his powerful position as Senate President Pro Tem and Judiciary Committee chairman to assume a role largely viewed as ceremonial.
"I clearly think Senator McConnell did what his constitutional obligation was, regardless if he did not want to do it," said Senator Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington)
Senators gave McConnell a standing ovation. Majority Leader Harvey Peeler of Gaffney and Minority Leader John Land of Manning helped McConnell into the lieutenant governor's robe.
"Today we remind the public that oaths of office matter people should and can expect that whoever takes the oath of office as pres pro tempore shal do as they are supposed to do to fufil the constitutional duty of becoming lt. gov if there is a permanent vacancy in that office," said McConnell.
Colleagues elevated Richland County Republican John Courson to McConnell's old position of president pro-tempore.
"I received tremendous bipartisan support for this position," said Courson. "I am honored my colleagues chose me to be their leader."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)