Next year, South Carolina voters may be able to decide whether the governor and the lieutenant governor should be chosen on the same ticket. After eight years of cringe-worthy moments from former Lt. Gov. André Bauer, we've had eight weeks of cringe-worthy moments from newly elected Lt. Gov. Ken Ard. Decisions, decisions.
The heart of Ard's problem is more than 100 alleged ethics violations for big spending from his campaign account after the election. There's a dress for his wife, expensive trips to Atlanta and Washington D.C., and lots of gas, meals, and coffee breaks. He'll likely wiggle out of some of these charges and the rest will involve a modest, not terribly significant fine.
But the damage is done to his re-election chances. If used properly, the lite gov. can be a powerful stepping stone. Expect at least one (probably two or more) GOP primary challengers if Ard and/or the elected position of lieutenant governor make it to 2014. And there will certainly be a general election challenger (if there is one thing South Carolina Democrats can do, it's recognize a wounded incumbent when they see one).
And, surprisingly enough, the most damning negative ad is already in the can. A new online video that runs Ard's own taped pleas for money along with the mountain of questionable spending from his campaign. Your jaw will drop at "So many of you have opened your homes, your hearts, and (pause) your wallets." But it gets worse. "I'm not taking your money to go to Walmart." Yep, he did. "I'm not taking your money to go to … Barnes and Noble." Yep, he did.