The Buzz

November 22, 2013

POLITICS: Presidential hopeful Glenn McConnell received campaign cash from 4 CofC trustees

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who wants to become the College of Charleston's president, already has gotten some support from the school's board -- $4,250 worth.

That's how much four trustees, who will help pick the successor to the retiring George Benson, have given to McConnell's 2014 lieutenant governor campaign through Sept. 30, according to S.C. Ethics Commission records.

Board members Cherry Daniel and Daniel Ravenel have kicked in $1,000 each, and John Busch contributed $250.

But the board's biggest donor to the Charleston Republican is chairman Greg Padgett, who has contributed $2,000.

Padgett also heads the presidential search committee. Ravenel and Busch sit on the search committee, too.

Padgett is the only current College of Charleston trustee in recent years to contribute to McConnell when he was a state senator, according to state records.

The Charleston investment company executive said he gave to McConnell's campaigns money because he believes his fellow College of Charleston alum is a strong, effective state leader.

But the trustees' contributions to one of the state's most-influential politicians -- who is being touted for the job heavily by some Lowcountry lawmakers -- won't matter in choosing a new college leader, Padgett said.

"Our duty is to do what's in the best interest of the college," he said. "That's what the board is going to do. ... It will not affect the decision of the board members."

The national search is scheduled to take longer than McConnell's self-imposed deadline of New Year's to start campaigning for June GOP primary.

McConnell said he will decide over Thanksgiving whether to try to become a college president or run for lieutenant governor.

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