With today’s surprise announcement that Sen. Jim DeMint would resign his Senate seat, all eyes have turned to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who will name a replacement. While the state has a deep bench of conservative politicians, Rep. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who just won reelection to a second term, is emerging as a front-runner for conservative support. Not only would Scott be the first African-American GOP Senator in more than 40 years, he would be the only African-American in the Senate.
Rep. Scott first won election in 2010, with the strong support of the tea party, Gov. Sarah Palin and several prominent conservatives. In his primary, he defeated two scions of storied families of South Carolina politics. He defeated Paul Thurmond, son of legendary Sen. Strom Thurmond as well as Carroll Campbell III, son of popular former Governor Carroll Campbell Jr. In a run-off against Thurmond, Scott received almost 70% of the vote. His election from an overwhelmingly white district which includes Ft. Sumter, was one of the crowning achievements of the tea party movement.
Rep. Scott was elected President of the Freshman Class after the 2010 elections. He was been a reliable conservative on both fiscal and social issues, earning high ratings from both Club for Growth and Heritage Action. According to some news reports, Scott is DeMint’s choice to succeed him. Breitbart News has reached out to Rep. Scott’s office for a comment. We will update this post when we hear back.
Gov. Nikki Haley herself made history in 2010 when she took on the state GOP establishment to win the Governor’s mansion. The daughter of Indian-American immigrants, she has been a champion of conservative reforms in the state. Selecting the popular Rep. Scott to fill-in part of DeMint’s term would strengthen her conservative legacy in the state.