‘Historic': South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appoints Rep. Tim Scott to DeMint’s seat

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has officially appointed Rep. Tim Scott to retiring Senator Jim DeMint’s seat.

“This is the right U.S. Senator for our state and for our country…He earned this seat for what I know he’s going to do in making South Carolina and making our country proud,” Haley said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

“Governor Haley has made a great choice for South Carolina and the nation. Tim Scott is a principled leader and will make an outstanding senator for the people of the South Carolina and an important voice for conservatives across the nation,” DeMint said.

Earlier this morning Haley’s political director Kurt Pickhard tweeted that, “Today is going to be historic,” leading politico’s to believe that Haley had selected Scott.

CNN reporter and South Carolina native Peter Hamby broke the news on twitter this morning. However, Scott would not confirm or deny that Haley had selected him, according to ABC News.

Scott will replace Jim DeMint of South Carolina in the U.S. Senate, who announced Dec. 6 that he would resign from the Senate in January to become President of the Washington, D.C. based conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation. Scott was rumored to be DeMint’s pick to succeed him, however his office has since denied that claim.

The Republican congressman will be the only black U.S. Senator and the first black Republican Senator in more than 30 years.

“When someone asks me why I’m a Republican, I tell them: ‘Because my momma raised me right,’ ” Scott told young Republicans from across the nation at the Young Republican National Federation’s (YRNF) biannual leadership conference in Washington, D.C. last summer.

Scott, who was raised by a single mom, is currently the only black Republican set to serve in the upcoming 113th Congress after controversial Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida lost a close reelection bid last month.

“Coming from a single-parent household and almost flunking out of high school my hope is I will take that experience and help people bring out the best that they can be,” Scott said during his 2010 bid for Congress.

Scott was the overall favorite for the seat and was the top choice among South Carolina Republicans to serve as DeMint’s replacement according to a Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll.

Other names on Nikki Haley’s short list for the seat included former S.C. First Lady Jenny Sanford, freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy, who has doggedly went after the Obama administration for it’s mishandling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, former S.C. attorney general Henry McMaster and Catherine Templeton, a lawyer.

Scott will have to run in a special election in 2014 in order to keep the seat and serve out the remainder of DeMint’s term. DeMint would have been up for reelection in 2016. By appointing Scott, Haley has all but ensure that Republicans will keep the seat in both the 2014 special election and 2016 general election.

The announcement will also set off a special election to fill Scott’s seat in the House of Representatives, which he was just reelected to last month.

As soon as the news broke progressives were already on the attack, attempting to portray Scott as a radical who is not fit for office, despite his inspiring personal story and approval rating among the state’s Republicans.

A brief background on Tim Scott:

  • Born September 19, 1965 (age 47) in Charleston, S.C. to Ben Scott, Sr. and Frances Scott.
  • Was largely raised by his mother, a nursing assistant who worked 16-hour days to support him and his older brother. Almost dropped out of high school until a local Chick-fil-a owner took him under his wing and taught him about conservative principles.
  • Graduated from Charleston Southern University in 1998 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.
  • Was the first black Republican elected to any office in South Carolina post-Reconstruction when he won nearly 80 percent of the vote in his first election, a special election to the Charleston County Council at-large seat in February 1995.
  • Made headlines when he supported the placement of the Ten Commandments outside the council chambers in 1997; a local court later ordered them removed.
  • Became Chairman of the Council in 2007.
  • Entered the state House of Representatives in 2008, becoming the first Republican African-American elected to the chamber in more than a century.
  • Elected to Congress in 2010 from South Carolina’s 1st District with more than 60 percent of the vote, replacing retiring Republican Henry Brown. Defeated Paul Thurmond, son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond, in the run-off.
  • Unmarried and deeply religious, Scott also owns his own Allstate Insurance Agency and is a partner in Pathway Real Estate Group, LLC.
  • Scott will be the first black U.S. Senator to represent South Carolina.

Katie LaPotin contributed to this report.

Comments

Polititainment

'SNL' laughs at North Korea, Sony hacks
“Saturday Night Live” hit on North Korea and the Sony hacks twice this weekend, proving that unlike most of Hollywood, they aren’t scared of Kim Jong-un. The show started off with a bang, bringing back Mike Myers as Dr. Evil to interrupt the cold open and discuss his anger over the North Korea and Sony hacker […]
RNC asks theaters to show 'The Interview
The Sony hack and subsequent cancellation of “The Interview” has gone fully political. President Obama made an official statement on this decision and now the Republican National Committee is weighing in. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus asks that movie theaters not bow down to North Korea and stand up to this decision by screening the film […]
Obama: LeBron 'did the right thing'

President Obama supports LeBron James' decision to wear an "I can't breathe" t-shirt during warmup before the NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets last week.

Al Sharpton, Hollywood's Sony Liaison

In a private meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Greenwich Hotel in New York City Thursday, Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal told Sharpton that he could have a voice in how the movie studio makes its films.

Clooney: Release 'The Interview' online

George Clooney may have the most awesomely toothy response to the Sony Pictures cyberattack that forced the movie studio to pull the film "The Interview" from its December 25 release.

White House

Obama: I will do ‘everything I can’ to close Guantanamo Bay
President Obama may have signed the defense bill that keeps Guantanamo Bay open for another year, but he is still verbally promising to close down the facility. Obama appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and discussed closing Gitmo by the end of next year with host Candy Crowley. “I’m going to do everything […]
Obama: ‘We’re not going to be intimidated’ by Sony hackers
President Obama appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning and covered a variety of topics ranging from racism to North Korea and the Sony hacks. Obama repeated his earlier statements about the hacks, implying again that Sony made the wrong call by canceling screenings of “The Interview.” “The Boston Marathon suffered an actual […]
Obama: we can’t have censorship subject to ‘some dictator someplace’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government.

U.S. confirms North Korea was behind Sony attack and promises ‘proportional’ response

Officials no longer merely suspect North Korea to be behind the cyberattack on Sony Picture—they’ve confirmed it.

District court declares Obama’s executive action on immigration unconstitutional
A federal court in Pennsylvania declared parts of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration unconstitutional Tuesday. Judge Arthur J. Schwab, sitting in the western district of Pennsylvania, said presidents do have the power to use discretion in deciding how to enforce laws, but found that Obama’s recent executive action went much further than that.  He said Obama was writing […]

Congress

Rubio, Paul feud continued on ABC's 'This Week'
Likely 2016 presidential hopefuls Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have been going after each other all week for statements made on President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba and the feud did not take a break over the weekend. The Florida senator, one of the most outspoken critics of the new Cuba policy, appeared on […]
Rubio says Rand Paul is clueless on Cuba

Sen. Marco Rubio made his criticism of a fellow Republican plain Thursday night.

Gowdy's office responds to Speaker chatter

Rep. Trey Gowdy has become a sensation on the Right, with his no-nonsense style and committee hearing takedowns of Obama officials garnering him praise and attention.

Rand Paul: 'Opening up Cuba is a good idea'

Sen. Rand Paul broke with the Republican Party's prevailing argument against President Obama's Cuba policy Thursday, saying the move toward opening trade with the long-embargoed nation "probably" is a good idea.

Retiring DemHenry Waxman's farewell ode to govt

You'd think that, 40 years in, a congressman might grow cynical about the prospects of government meddling. Not retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)!