U.S. Rep. Tim Scott. He is now headed for the U.S. Senate.
by Frederick H. Lowe, The NorthStar News and Analysis
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley today named U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, a black Tea Party Republican, to serve out the remaining term of U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, who is resigning from the Congress to head the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“It is with great pleasure that I am announcing that our next U.S. senator is to be Congressman Tim Scott,” Haley said during a news conference in Columbia, S.C. “I am strongly convinced that entire nation understands that this is the right U.S. senator for our state and our country.”
The 47-year-old Scott told reporters that he will be sworn in as South Carolina’s new senator on January 3, 2013. He will be the only African American serving in the 100-member U.S. Senate. Scott also will be the first black Republican senator since Edward W. Brooke III of Massachusetts left the chamber in 1979.
Unlike Brooke, Scott is from a different wing of the Republican Party. “I believe that most of the country is right of center and that they believe in Tea Party principles, which is limited government and pro growth,” he said.
Haley said today’s appointment of Scott makes history. Robert Smalls, a black man who served in the 44th, 45th and the 47th U.S. Congress, however, founded South Carolina’s Republican Party during Reconstruction. Smalls also helped write South Carolina’s constitution.
DeMint was elected to a second six-year term in 2010. His old seat, however, will be up for special election in 2014. And in 2016, the seat will be up for election for a full six-year term.
Scott represents South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which is based in Charleston. The district also includes part of South Carolina’s coastline.
Voters elected him to Congress in 2010. He was one of two black Republicans elected to the Congress that year. U.S. Rep. Allen West (R., Fla.) was the other black Republican Tea Party member elected to Congress. Unlike West, Scott did not join the Congressional Black Caucus.
The child of a single mother, Scott urged single mothers not to give up on their children.