An Aiken County legislator facing domestic violence-related charges resigned his seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday, just hours after House leaders formally began an effort to expel him.
State Rep. Chris Corley, R-Graniteville, had already been suspended from the chamber by House Speaker Jay Lucas after his indictment on a domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature charge and for pointing a weapon at his wife. Corley was arrested following the December 26 incident and is free on bond.
The House Reading Clerk revealed the resignation during Tuesday’s session, when he read Corley’s brief message: “Dear Mr. Speaker, Effective immediately, I resign my position in the South Carolina House of Representatives, District 84.”
Fellow Aiken County legislators had been urging Corley to resign, saying his suspension and the severity of the charge hampered his ability to represent District 84. Corley held out until Lucas filed a resolution Tuesday that would have expelled him from the chamber — an extremely rare step in the Statehouse. He submitted his resignation within an hour of the resolution’s introduction.
“The South Carolina Constitution clearly states that the House of Representatives has the sole authority to expel one of its members for disorderly conduct,” Lucas said in a statement afterwards. “Even though I prepared a resolution calling for his removal, I am grateful that the House did not have to take such extraordinary measures and expel Rep. Corley from this Institution. ”
The resignation opens up a special election in the largely-conservative district that covers the communities of Graniteville, Clearwater and Jackson in western Aiken County. The Aiken Standard newspaper reports County Council Chairman Ronnie Young has expressed interest in running as a Republican to replace Corley.