Gov. Nikki Haley temporarily gave up her power as she underwent surgery Friday morning, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The AP reported that an “aide” said the Republican governor will have outpatient surgery Friday for “radial nerve compression,” or carpal tunnel syndrome. Under a provision in the state constitution, the governor will temporarily transfer authority to act in an emergency to Democratic Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill.
The constitution states McGill shall have full authority to act in an emergency in the case of the governor’s temporary disability or absence. McGill still would not become acting governor unless a serious issue arises while Haley is incapacitated.
McGill took the lieutenant governor’s position last month after his predecessor Glenn McConnell resigned to become president at the College of Charleston. Prior to that, he had represented Williamsburg County in the state Senate for 26 years.
A Democrat has not served as governor since former Gov. Jim Hodges left office in 2003 following an election loss to Mark Sanford.
Haley’s campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey had Haley’s surgery began at 7 a.m. She is now recovering at home.
The announcement caught many off guard. Prior to Friday, the Governor’s Office had not given any public indication that the surgery was happening. Godfrey told the Associated Press that doctors attribute Haley’s injury at least partly to her hand-signing 39,000 letters since taking office.