Friday, March 02, 2012

Lt. Governor Courson?

Rumors are rampant around the Columbia political scene and on various blogs that Lt. Ken Ard is about to be indicted by State Grand Jury for misuse of campaign funds. Lt. Governor Ard has been under investigation for his misuse of campaign funds since he took office. There are things like campaign money being spent for televisions, and even women's clothing being alleged.

Ard did himself no favors when he stated in an interview with the Columbia Free Times that he tried to recoup his personal investment in running for the office. Ard later backed off those remarks, but with what we have seen, coupled with the remarks, it looks bad for Ard.

SC Attorney General Alan Wilson correctly turned the matter over to the State Grand Jury. If the State Grand Jury decides to indict Lt. Governor Ard, then he will be temporarily removed from office. That will bring on some considerable political maneuvering.

As it stands, State Senator Glenn McConnell would be elevated to the post of Lt. Governor as President of the South Carolina State Senate. The problem is McConnell does not want the job. McConnell is far more powerful in his current post then if he was elevated to Lt. Governor. So, look for McConnell to temporarily step aside in his current post in favor of State Senator John Courson. We at VUI also hear that he might step aside for State Senators Harvey Peeler or Jake Knotts. One thing is clear. Glenn McConnell will not take the job.

Here is why we think John Courson will get the nod. First, Courson is Mr. Republican in the South Carolina State Senate. People respect Courson for his sense of history and as such, the man will love ending his career as Lt. Governor. Second, the elevation of Courson frees up his State Senate seat for Haley ally Nathan Ballentine. Haley might offer a pay for play government, but the fact remains she and her well funded allies run this state now, and getting a crony in the State Senate appeals to them.

Haley and her cronies bring up another reason that Ard will probably go down. South Carolina voters have a short attention span and are tired of scandal. If Ard goes down, the issues surrounding Governor Haley and her seemingly pay for play handling of the Savannah port deal will likely fade away. Ard going down to some sort of campaign finance scandal will whet the appetite of the typically lazy media in South Carolina. It also will give ammunition to the Haley crowd about appointing a Lt. Governor instead of having one elected.

Thus, Haley folks will be pleased, and Courson will get to see his picture hanging on some wall, appealing to his sense of history. So look for it. Ard goes down. Courson becomes a caretaker Lt. Governor and Governor Haley gets off free for her indiscretions.

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