South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said Friday she would not appoint herself to outgoing Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate seat, dispelling rumors that she would do so.
“I will not take the appointment myself,” Haley said.
After DeMint announced on Thursday that he would be leaving the Senate next month to head the Heritage Foundation, Haley, by law, must appoint his successor for a two-year term. A special election will be held in 2014 for a full six-year term.
Haley said she would “appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share” and make a decision quickly in a “dignified” manner.
“With all the challenges we face as a state and nation, it is essential that the next senator from South Carolina be dedicated to the principles that our state most values,” Haley said.
A strong contender to replace DeMint is Rep. Tim Scott, who would be the first black Republican Senator since the late Ed Brooke of Massachusetts. Notable conservatives — like Sarah Palin, who had endorsed Scott in his Congressional race in 2010 — enthusiastically expressed support for a potential Scott appointment.