South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will name Congressman Tim Scott to replace retiring Jim DeMint in the United States Senate, according to Republican sources.
The move makes Congressman Scott the first African-American senator from South Carolina, and the first in the South since the late 19th century.
Overall, he will be the seventh Black senator, and the chamber’s fourth Black Republican.
In addition to adding racial diversity to the Republican lineup in the U.S. Senate, Congressman Scott comes with strong conservative credentials and an inspiring, “up-by-his-own-bootstraps” story. He was raised by a single mother and almost flunked out of high school, until a Chick-fil-A franchise owner took him under his wing and taught him conservative principles.
Congressman Scott was on a shortlist that included Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of former Governor Mark Sanford, who supported Governor Haley in her race two years ago; freshman Representative Trey Gowdy; Henry McMaster, a former attorney general; and Catherine Templeton, the state health agency director.
Senator DeMint announced his sudden retirement on December 6. Although he had planned to not seek re-election at the end of his term in 2016, the leading conservative senator took the opportunity to send a strong vote of “no confidence” in the congressional leadership of House Speaker John Boehner.