As I said earlier today, the only way Glenn McConnell would give up power to be lieutenant governor would be if he felt that his personal honor as a gentleman was at stake. And it appears that that is just what has happened:
Stepping into the role is McConnell, who is giving up one of the most powerful positions in all of state government for a mostly ceremonial role whose only duties are to preside over the Senate and run the state Office on Aging.
Speaking with reporters after a closed-door meeting in his State House office, McConnell said becoming lieutenant governor is “a personal sacrifice” but his reading of the state constitution makes it clear that the Senate President Pro Tem has a duty to become lieutanant governor when the post is permanently vacated.
“After much thought, prayer and discussion, I have decided that I have a moral obligation to my oath of office and to the constitution of this state,” McConnell said in a prepared statement. “It is an obligation that compels me to do the right thing no matter how difficult it may be to me personally.”
McConnell said he expects be sworn in on Tuesday. McConnell would not say who his preference was to replace him as the leader of the Senate, and he did not rule out the possibility of running for his state Senate seat again in four years.
Wow. What a weird, back-handed way for the mighty to fall.
This is the one really significant thing to have happened in all of this. Whether Ken Ard had continued to be lieutenant governor or not was of no consequence (which is why you never caught me paying much attention to the matter one way or the other). It doesn’t matter who the Gov Lite is, unless the governor dies or leaves office suddenly. But the most powerful man in the Senate, who has done more than anyone else to set the course for the General Assembly for the last couple of decades, has just walked away from power (for now).
That’s really something.
Whatever happens next, I must say — my hat’s off to you, senator.