After the surprise resignation of Republican Senator Jim DeMint just a few short weeks ago, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has appointed Rep. Tim Scott to fill the soon-to-be vacant seat.
What makes Scott’s appointment rather significant in itself is that Scott is the only African-American in the United States Senate and the first African-American to represent the Deep South in the Senate since the 19th century. So regardless of Scott’s politics, which are far-right and not too different from DeMint, there is a bit of history that was made today.
So who is Tim Scott? As per the New York Times mini-profile on him:
Mr. Scott, 47, also offers a unique story and background, one that is in scant supply in the Republican Party right now. Raised by a single mother, he was, by his account, a lost child who struggled with school and with life until a Chick-fil-A franchise owner took him on as a protégé and schooled him in conservative principles.
Scott does have a bit more of “a story” than most of his fellow party members, but his voting record offers little hope for anything different than Jim DeMint. For example, Tim Scott sponsored a bill that would make families, who had a parent on strike, ineligible for food stamps. Scott also helped slash the HIV/AIDS budget in South Carolina when he was serving as a state representative.
But Scott is a rising star as well in Republican political circles, though I don’t think he’s looking to ever make a national run. However, after giving up a place on the Ways & Means Committee, Scott’s ambition to move up the political ladder is now more clear than ever. Also, Scott is popular enough from conservatives to maybe not get a primary challenge in 2014 (when the special election is due) and they’ll likely focus on trying to oust incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Scott’s House seat is now available but given it’s strong Republican lean, it’s unlikely we’ll see a Democrat take it.
Nonetheless, the appointment of Scott is historic but you’ll find next-to-zero difference between him and his predecessor. The Democrats may not be able to swing this state to the Blue column, however how about not letting Alvin Greene win again? Let’s dig into the bench.