Deadline Extended

Know a young conservative who should be on Red Alert's 2015 '30 Under 30' List? Nominate them by May 29.

A preview of DeMint’s possible replacements in the Senate

Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) abrupt resignation opens a seat in the upper chamber for a Palmetto State Republican to win a huge promotion.

South Carolina election law gives the state’s governor, in this case Republican Nikki Haley, the ability to appoint someone to fill DeMint’s seat after he officially resigns in January for the next two years. A special election will be held in November 2014 to determine who will serve the the final two years of DeMint’s remaining four year term.

Senior South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is also up for reelection in 2014. DeMint’s resignation likely comes as good news to Graham, who was all but guaranteed to face a stiff primary in 2014 over his positions on issues such energy policy and immigration reform. Conservatives in the state could opt to put their focus on chasing DeMint’s seat in 2014 rather than ousting Graham.

Although now squashed by a member of DeMint’s staff, early reports surfaced that DeMint’s preferred successor is Representative Tim Scott.

Scott, a Tea Party Republican first elected to Congress in 2010, would be the first African-American Republican to serve in the Senate since Edward William Brooke III of Massachusetts left office in 1980. (The last African-American to serve in the Senate, Roland Burris of Illinois, left the Senate in 2010. He was appointed in 2009 to replace then-Senator Barack Obama after his election to President.)

In a statement released this morning, Scott commented that DeMint’s “commitment to conservative principles leaves a true legacy” and that he believes Governor Haley “will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation” in choosing DeMint’s replacement.

Scott is not the only House member believed to be interested in the seat. Fellow freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney has long coveted a seat in Congress’ upper chamber, and was believed to consider running when DeMint left office in 2016.

“Senator DeMint has been a strong conservative voice, and he leaves big shoes to be filled…I am proud to have worked with Senator DeMint and I will continue to call him a friend and a mentor in the years to come,” Mulvaney said in a press release earlier today.

If either Scott or Mulvaney were to accept an appointment to serve in the Senate it would set off a special election for his seat in the House of Representatives.

Another possible option is for Governor Haley to appoint a placeholder rather than a long-term successor. According to The Hill some Republicans believe that Haley could choose former South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, a close friend, to serve until the 2014 election.

“Being a U.S. Senator is something that’s very important that serves until 2014 – and then the people get to pick,” Dawson told The Hill earlier today. “We have a lot of conservative rock-stars in South Carolina. There is nobody who’s ever done politics who’d rule out serving the state.”

The Washington Post also names former Attorney General Henry McMaster and former Ambassador David Wilkins as others whom Haley can choose for the seat. McMaster ran for governor in 2010, but lost to Haley in the primary. After the primary, McMaster became a surrogate for Haley and helped raise money for her successful gubernatorial campaign. McMaster is also a former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Another option would be for Haley to appoint herself to the seat. This would not be the first time this has happened in South Carolina. After Sen. Olin Johnston died in 1965, former South Carolina Gov. Donald Russell resigned from the governorship and his replacement, Gov. Robert McNair, appoint him to Johnston’s seat.
However, Haley said Thursday afternoon that she would not use her position of power to appoint herself. “That is not even not an option, not something I am considering at all,” she said on a South Carolina radio show.
Even so, if Haley opts to put a placeholder in the seat, she could still run in the 2014 special election. Haley is up for reelection in 2014 and could opt to run for the U.S. Senate instead of running for a second term as Governor.

Either way, the future of South Carolina’s representation in Washington now lies in the hands of one individual – Nikki Haley.

This piece has been updated to include additional information.

Francesca Chambers and Lauren Luxenburg contributed to this report.


Comments

Polititainment

McGowan posts fake Cruz quote on Duggar
Amid the fallout of the Duggar scandal last week, many have spoken up with opinions, including liberal actress Rose McGowan who posted a made-up quote from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and later issued a reluctant, almost-apology. The Charmed actress’ not-so-charming tweet included a meme from the self-proclaimed “For Entertainment Purposes Only” website titled, “Stop the World, […]
Anti-Stephanopoulos artwork invades NYC

Posters depicting ABC News anchor George Stephanopolous and a smiling Hillary Clinton with the words "PayPal" and "Donate" written on them have been popping up close to the studio where ABC shoots Good Morning America.

Rubio gets first celeb endorsement

The Florida senator and official GOP candidate for president has just received a big celebrity endorsement from Rick Harrison of the popular show "Pawn Stars," according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun.

Snoop Dogg endorses Hillary Clinton

Snoop Dogg became the latest rapper to endorse the Democratic presidential candidate during his appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" over the weekend.

John Oliver shocked by House NSA reform

John Oliver was shocked to hear that the House recently passed NSA reform.

2016

If campaign songs were honest

Campaign songs--that signature tune that accompanies a candidate at every amped-up campaign rally--can say a lot about a candidate.

Pot advocate hopes to change Hillary's mind
While Hillary is busy picking out which pantsuit to wear to a Florida fundraiser on Friday, her brassy host is prepping for her conversion on a much less predictable talking point– the legalization of marijuana. Trial attorney and outspoken medical-marijuana advocate John Morgan will host Clinton and her supporters in his Florida home this weekend, according […]
The 7 most hideous Hillary campaign store items

Instead of forcing you to browse through all the (mostly overpriced) items, I thought I'd give you a sampling of the truly most outrageous accessories, signs and clothing pieces put up for sale by the Clinton campaign ... and what they really say about those who buy them.

Sanders: Hillary Clinton hustles money

The Democratic presidential candidate recently told CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood over a meal at a speakeasy that Hillary and Bill Clinton's lifestyle likely precludes them from being able to identify with the regular Americans who a truly struggling in the current economy.

Huckabee: Americans most distrustful of government

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee claimed on Fox News Sunday over the weekend that Americans are more distrustful of government than ever.

Policy

Gun rights may be coming to NYC
Just last week Federal Judge Frederick J. Scullin struck down D.C.’s requirement that residents show “good reason” for needing a concealed carry permit. Now that battle may be spreading across the country. According to the New York Post, other anti-gun cities like New York City may be facing similar constitutional objections. New York City currently […]
Court rules DMV may ban pro-life license plates

A federal appeals court has ruled that New York can ban pro-life license plates as “patently offensive” messages that might drive someone to “road rage.”

NSA claims to be shutting down bulk surveillance

With key Patriot Act provisions soon expiring, and no legislative extension in sight, the question now becomes: will the NSA actually shut down their metadata program?

George W. volunteered to officiate a gay wedding

This year, journalists have been asking practically every Republican candidate whether they would attend a gay wedding—and have received a wide variety of answers.

Lindsey Graham rolls eyes during Rand Paul speech

Lindsey Graham's eyeballs practically fell out of his sockets when Rand Paul rose to speak against the NSA Friday night.