Politics & Government

What is SC’s lieutenant governor running for?

Kevin Bryant
Kevin Bryant tglantz@thestate.com

South Carolina’s accidental lieutenant governor has been busy.

On Monday, Kevin Bryant will report having raised $90,000 to $100,000 from April through June, he told The Buzz.

The money is fueling the Anderson Republican’s appearances at public and campaign events and meetings with local officials and business leaders around the state – 32 since June 4.

His near-daily road-tripping also is fueling speculation that he’s running for governor.

Friday, however, he said he’s still a few weeks away from making a decision. (Another statewide office he said he’s been asked to run for? Treasurer. But never fear, Curtis Loftis. Bryant has no interest in that office, he told The Buzz.)

Bryant must make decisions abouthis political future soon. His political past is rapidly approaching.

Bryant’s lieutenant governor career will end next year, when whoever seeks the office must run on the same ticket as the governor. (It’s not a very attractive job, but one the former state senator volunteered for earlier this year, filling the vacancy created when McMaster became governor.)

A request for donations on Bryant’s website makes no mention of a political race, saying, “Help us continue to spread the conservative message: ‘Promoting Your Liberty and Protecting Your Wallet.’ 

“We’re going to do this the rest of the year, because I represent the whole state,” Bryant told The Buzz. “I think it’s important to get out there and meet with folks, especially when it comes to the aging population.” His current post includes oversight of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging.

Bryant’s fundraising for an office without an upcoming re-election contest has raised questions about whether he’s allowed to raise money at all.

Bryant thinks he’s in the clear and says he’ll correct any problems that arise.

State Ethics Commission officials were unavailable Friday to weigh in. The last word from the commission’s director was that he was looking into it.

Bryant’s stops since June 4 have included five church visits and six interviews with media, a news conference calling for defunding Planned Parenthood, ribbon cuttings, town halls, meetings with fraternal organizations, conferences and more, according to his office. His wife often joins him, he said.

Recently, his Palmetto State travels took him to the coast, where he found himself reciting the Declaration of Independence to DJ Natty Heavy’s beat-dropping at North Charleston’s Riverfront Park July 4th celebration. All that after a morning of riding in the Lexington Peach Festival parade and attending a Lexington Sheriff’s Office event.

“The mayor of North Charleston was going to introduce me before the DJ started,” but things were running late, Bryant said, recalling standing on the stage.

Then the beats started.

“I’ve never done this before, so let’s give it a shot,” he thought, starting out, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

But Bryant knew his limits, he told The Buzz.

“I didn’t dance. I cannot dance. I didn’t even try.”