Lowcountry businessman Pat McKinney, a Republican ally of SC Gov. Nikki Haley, announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor today during a live Internet stream.
During the ten minute address McKinney said that he "never aspired to a career in politics," but chose to run out of a desire to serve South Carolina, the state where he built his family and career.
A 63-year-old developer based in Charleston, McKinney will be looking to unseat Republican Glenn McConnell. In 2010 McKinney was a member of Haley's finance team, and continued to work with Haley as a member of her transition team after the election.
McKinney said that he would like to jump start the change to a single ticket, which is not set to begin until 2018, by joining forces with Haley.
"I don't think voters meant for there to be four dead years," McKinney said of his desire to work closely with the governor. "I want to spend the next four years working closely as a team."
Haley's campaign said that the governor would be "staying out" of the race for lieutenant governor, and that the governor did not have a role in McKinney's decision to seek the office.
Before partnering in the development firm that is credited with turning Kiawah Island into a high-end beach destination, McKinney got his first job out of college with Charles Fraser's Sea Pines Company. McKinney started there as a real estate salesman in 1971, before becoming a sales manager and moving on in 1975.
McKinney said that the state "sorely needs an effective voice from the private sector."
In an effort to limit "the trappings of high office," McKinney said his first move as lieutenant governor would be to eliminate his own security detail and driver.
McConnell became lieutenant governor after Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned in 2012, leaving behind his role as Senate pro tem.
McKinney was born in Atlanta and retired as a partner in Kiawah Partners after selling in June.
McKinney's announcement was broadcast live on popular streaming website Ustream.tv.