Tim Scott, a U.S. Representative from South Carolina, is quickly becoming the favourite to replace South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who announced his resignation from Congress Thursday morning.CNN’s Peter Hamby first reported that DeMint — who leaves to head up the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank — wants Scott to be his replacement. It’s a choice that makes sense to conservatives as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley prepares to make an appointment.
Whomever Haley appoints will hold the seat until a special election is held in 2014 to pick a permanent replacement to fill DeMint’s seat.
There are a number of reasons Scott looks to be the favourite. His potential appointment would make him the only African-American member of the Senate. He is also described as a bona fide conservative who is viewed favourably by the Tea Party types of his party.
Erick Erickson, a prominent conservative blogger and founder of RedState.com, immediately put Scott’s name forward Thursday:
Other conservatives were quick to agree. One veteran GOP consultant told Business Insider he’d be “amazing, and a great pick.”
“He’s been a smart conservative in the House, a hard campaigner for folks, a strong voice,” the consultant said.
Scott would be the first black Senator from the Republican Party since Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, who served two terms from 1967-1979.
Choosing Scott could also be a savvy move for Haley. A recent Winthrop poll showed her approval rating underwater at just 38 per cent, and Scott’s appointment would be somewhat historic.
For his part, Scott ducked the speculation, releasing a vague statement earlier today.
“Looking forward, Governor Haley will now appoint a new Senator, and I know she will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation,” Scott said in the statement.