Members of the General Assembly vote on university board members Wednesday, but William Hubbard already knows he will retain his seat on the University of South Carolina's Board of Trustees. That's because Hubbard's opponent, former USC spokesman Russ "Chip" McKinney, has dropped out, clearing the path for Hubbard's return.
"I serve on the board to help make the university better and more responsive," said Hubbard, an attorney who has served on the board since 1986. "It's my passion. I'm grateful to the legislators for allowing me to continue to serve."
The McKinney-Hubbard race had shaped up as one of the more intriguing battles on USC's board. As a former staff member for former S.C. Gov. Dick Riley and as a former spokesman for USC, McKinney has detailed knowledge of the workings of USC and of the General Assembly. There were also rumblings of discontent from several legislators who have grown frustrated with different aspects of the university - most notably its in-state/out-of-state student ratio and its plans to create a research hub on campus.
Hubbard and other long-time members have been viewed by some legislators as not responsive enough to concerns about the university. But McKinney said he sensed that legislators were uncomfortable with the idea of moving beyond those already on the board.
"There is a reluctance for legislators who are incumbents themselves to vote out other incumbents," McKinney said