THE MORNING BUZZ: Warm yourself by the political fire

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on January 7, 2014 

The Buzz is providing a little political kindling to help you stay warm today.

State House meetings this week

• No meetings Tuesday

• Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.: Energy Advisory Council of the State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee (Gressette Room 105, Agenda)

• Wednesday, 10 a.m.: Ways and Means Higher Education, Technical, and Cultural Budget Subcommittee (Blatt Room 321, Agenda)

• Wednesday, 2 p.m.: Ways and Means Higher Education, Technical, and Cultural Budget Subcommittee (Blatt Room 321, Agenda)

• Thursday, 11 am: Joint Transportation Review Committee (Gressette Room 209, Agenda)

• Thursday, 1 pm: Governor's Nuclear Advisory Council, Gressette Room 207

A pair of meetings were canceled:

• Thursday: Finance Special Subcommittee to Review the Investment of State Retirement Funds

• Friday: Procurement Review Panel

(Note: Meeting days, times and locations are subject to change.)

Gov. Nikki Haley's schedule

• No public events Tuesday

• On Wednesday, she joins S.C. Motor Vehicles director Kevin Shwedo, Donate Life South Carolina executive director Tracy Armstrong and LifePoint president and chief executive Nancy A. Kay for a press conference to announce a new donor designation campaign and unveils her K-12 education reform initiative at Brookland-Cayce Grammar 1 in West Columbia.

See more of her schedule this week.

McConnell's Choice

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, finally made the big decision South Carolina politicos had waited for:

Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell finally decided on what he knew all along in his heart: If he were offered the president’s job at the College of Charleston, he would accept.

That meant giving up a 2014 election run for the state’s No. 2 job and ending a 33-year career in state politics in the hopes of taking over his alma mater.

“The thing that really nagged at me is that I did not want to ask money and votes and, then, I would be offered the office (of president) because I knew I would take it,” the Charleston Republican said Monday after announcing his decision. “That would be like jumping ship. I knew I needed to get out.”

State political leaders showered McConnell with appreciation after three-plus decades in state office. From U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca:

“Glenn McConnell will be missed. He was a strong conservative voice for South Carolina who accomplished much for the people of our state during his years of public service. Glenn was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Boeing to come to South Carolina and for years provided steady leadership in the South Carolina State Senate. In the years to come, I’m sure he will continue to contribute to South Carolina and I wish him well in all future endeavors.”

And at least one Republican said he would be interested in running for lieutenant governor with McConnell stepping aside:

Mike Campbell, son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell, says he is considering a run for the state's No. 2 position.

"It’s something I’m definitely giving some consideration to," Campbell said. "I feel like we still have a pretty solid state network and statewide base that if it was something we decided to pull the trigger on that there would be some support that would still be out there."

Campbell ran for lieutenant governor in 2006, where he won 45 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. But Campbell lost two weeks later in a runoff to Andre Bauer, who would go on to serve two terms as the state's lieutenant governor.

Buzz Clicks

Three incumbent S.C. State University trustees did not seek re-election to their seats, the school said Monday. Legislators, who elect trustees, punted four S.C. State board members in last year’s election – including one who was running unopposed – in an effort to make over the Orangeburg school, suffering from years of severe debt, declining enrollment and leadership quarrels. By next summer, nine of the 13 members on the board of the state’s only historically black public college will be new, elected since last year. Full story

Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson and Reginal Barner, a former chief executive of the Aiken Housing Authority, are the new owners of the troubled Village at River’s Edge housing development in north Columbia. Full story

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's flight from Greenville to Washington, D.C., on Monday had to make an emergency landing after passengers reported the engine was "making a strange sound." Full story

You've heard of North Carolina's "Moral Mondays"? Get ready for "Truthful Tuesdays" in South Carolina. A coalition of five progressive groups are organizing a rally at the State House at noon on Tuesday -- the first day of the 2014 legislative session -- to protest the S.C. legislature's "failure to enact Medicaid expansion," "failure to provide high quality education to all of our children," and "failure to protect voting rights." Full story

The potential owner of a minor-league baseball team in Columbia has been meeting with some downtown neighborhood leaders in recent months, laying the groundwork for his entrance into the market. Full story

This click is kind of political: South Carolina finished a stellar season with another school record – its highest postseason ranking in history at No. 4. Clemson finished No. 8. Full story

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