COLUMBIA, SC — Republican Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday that she would have no issues with having a Democrat temporarily residing in the lieutenant governor's office.
"I just think we need to have a lieutenant governor," Haley told reporters in front of her State House office. "This was never personal for me. If I am in this wing, somebody has to be across the hall."
Haley said she needs to know who to call when she is leaving the state and in case of an emergency.
"Regardless of who it is, I will let the Senate decide that," she said.
Democratic State Sen. Yancey McGill of Williamsburg is the only senator to publicly express interest in giving up his seat for a six-month interim stint as lieutenant governor. He would succeed Republican Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who is expected to resign next week to start work as president at the College of Charleston.
No Democrats hold statewide office in South Carolina. "I think Sen. McGill is a great person," Haley said. "We've always gotten along great. I wouldn't have an issue with it."
Voters already are scheduled to elect a new lieutenant governor in November.
McGill, a 25-year veteran in the senate, has not made a final decision. He would need to be elected Senate president pro tempore and then resign to become lieutenant governor as spelled out in the state Constitution.
The Senate president pro tempore office is vacant after Sen. John Courson, R-Richalnd, resigned the powerful leadership post last week to avoid becoming lieutenant governor, one of the State House least influential positions.