South Carolina could be experiencing its final days — if not hours — of Gov. Nikki Haley.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a Tuesday meeting to vote on Haley as the next United Nations ambassador. If approved, which is expected, Haley’s nomination would move to the full Senate floor and she could be approved as soon as either Tuesday evening or Wednesday. However, such a quick nomination would only happen if no individual senator uses his or her ability to delay the process.
Haley has already indicated she will resign from the Governor’s Office once confirmed by the Senate. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster would then be sworn in to serve out the remaining two years of Haley’s second term.
The governor’s nomination is not expected to draw a lot of controversy. Even Democratic senators say they remain focused on other appointment by President Donald Trump, including Haley’s potential superior as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. There are concerns about Haley’s relative lack of foreign experience, however.
The Governor’s Office on Monday would not comment on any resignation timeline.
A debate likely to emerge in the state Senate this week is who will replace McMaster as South Carolina’s lieutenant governor. State law requires the Senate President pro tempore rise to take the state’s number two office, but current President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, has indicated he does not want to give up his powerful post for two years at the relatively ceremonial job.
Speculation is that Leatherman could temporarily resign his leadership position and have senators choose a temporary replacement to hold the office just long enough to become lieutenant governor. State Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, has already offered to give up his seat if that need arises, and a majority of senators have already indicated they would back him.