South Carolina Senate must select new leader

SC Senate Chamber exterior

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina senators will choose a new leader this week after Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell is sworn in as the next lieutenant governor.

The Senate could vote Tuesday on McConnell's replacement. The Charleston Republican has held the position for more than a decade.

Senators seeking to replace him are Education Committee Chairman John Courson of Columbia and Majority Leader Harvey Peeler of Gaffney.

The Senate's decision follows a tumultuous Friday in which former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned in disgrace and McConnell announced he would take over the role as the constitution requires. Ard pleaded guilty to campaign fraud hours after resigning.

The Senate's 27 Republicans control the 46-member chamber.

Both the Republican and Democratic caucuses plan to meet behind closed doors before the full Senate votes.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)