If the political not-so-quiet whispers are to be believed, Rep. Tim Scott is apparently a leading contender to replace Sen. Jim DeMint who is retiring from Congress to run the Heritage Foundation. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will make the appointment to fill out DeMint’s term until the November 4, 2014, special election takes place. Haley will also be up for reelection in November 2014.
Scott, 47, a conservative Republican and Tea Party favorite, has represented South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District since 2010.
According to Buzzfeed, “Scott would be the first African American from the south since Mississippi Republican Senator Blanche Bruce lost reelection in 1881, and the first Republican black Senator since Edward Brooke in the 1970s.”
While Gov. Haley has several viable Republican candidates to choose from, Politico suggests that Tim Scott would be a very good pick:
“But Scott also has the kind of personal story that’s undoubtedly appealing to a party that’s trying to diversify its base: He worked his way out of poverty to become a successful small-business man, local politician and eventual congressman …
“At the crux of his conservative beliefs is the idea that capitalism and hard work can help the poor move up the economic ladder. And he tells that story at every opportunity.
Haley has the option of appointing a caretaker who would just serve for two years, but that could give rise to a contentious primary. Quoting an unnamed South Carolina GOP operative, Roll Call notes that “If she appoints [Scott], the musical chairs is a lot less intense in 2014.”
Senator DeMint is not officially endorsing Scott or anyone else, although Roll Call claims he privately favors the congressman. “One thing I’m confident of is Nikki Haley will appoint a strong movement conservative,” DeMint said.
South Carolina GOP strategist Wesley Donehue, according to Roll Call, “said Scott is the obvious choice for Haley and noted that the two served together in the state legislature.”
If Congressman Tim Scott goes to the Senate, his House seat is expected to remain in GOP hands.