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S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) is quietly campaigning for the Palmetto state’s “second highest office” in the event it is vacated by its current scandal-plagued occupant, Ken Ard.

The former Republican gubernatorial candidate – who regularly votes in support of taxpayers and limited government advocates at the S.C. State House – is currently in the thick of a major battle regarding his congressional redistricting plan, which would create a new U.S. House seat in the Palmetto Lowcountry.

It’s unclear whether Grooms is giving up his Congressional ambitions (or seeking to parlay them into the No. 2 statewide post) – but FITS has spoken with several State Senators who say they have received calls from Grooms about the largely-ceremonial position.

Also, the fact that Grooms is making these calls has reportedly enraged S.C. Senate President Glenn McConnell – who has yet to decide whether he would ascend to the post in the event it was vacated by Ard. Technically, McConnell is in line to succeed Ard in the event he steps down but rumors abound that the powerful Senate leader might resign his post preemptively in an effort to avoid being compelled to take the office, which would result in a major diminution of his power.

Apparently McConnell’s calculation – which is also being considered by others seeking the post- is focused on the scandals surrounding S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, who many believe is facing even bigger problems than the ones currently crashing around Ard.

Otherwise there would be little jockeying for this impotent, part-time position …

For those of you living under a rock, Ard’s multiple ethics violations (and the lies he told to cover them up) were among the allegations referred to a statewide grand jury earlier this month by S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson. Not only did Ard get busted using tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash on personal expenses, but he lied about it – attempting to fabricate official pretenses for many of the questionable expenses.

Also, the legitimacy of some of Ard’s campaign contributions have recently been called into question – adding another wrinkle to the story.

Haley, meanwhile, is facing renewed scrutiny over her pre-gubernatorial employment – including a mysterious job application submitted to Lexington Medical Center and allegations of illegal lobbying activity on behalf of Wilbur Smith Associates, a local engineering firm that paid her more that $40,000 in income that she never disclosed on her statements of economic interest.

Anyway, in addition to McConnell and Grooms, a trio of “Republican in Name Only” State Senators – Larry Martin, Ronnie Cromer and John Courson – are also reportedly campaigning for the position.