DeMint Pushing for Tim Scott to Replace Him in Senate

Thursday, 06 Dec 2012 01:09 PM

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Sen. Jim DeMint is pushing for Rep. Tim Scott — a conservative African American congressman — to replace him in the Senate next month, a GOP official has revealed.

DeMint announced Thursday that he is quitting politics to take over the Heritage Foundation — a move that will see Gov. Nikki Haley appointing a replacement to fill the seat until a special election is held in 2014.

Naming Scott, 47, would mean that DeMint’s seat would still be held by a prominent tea partier, a South Carolina Republican official told TPM.com.

It would also allow Haley and the GOP to make history.

“It would be historic for an Indian American governor from the Deep South to appoint an African American to the U.S. Senate,” the official said.

“I think it’s highly unlikely she would appoint a placeholder. There are too many critical votes coming in the next 24 months. Scott and DeMint are lock step on the issues. …Scott is DeMint’s choice.’’

But there are other possible candidates in the wings.

“Rep. Mick Mulvaney wants to be a senator. The second-term Republican, who knocked off Democrat John Spratt in 2010, has been seen as a likely statewide candidate even before he won office,’’ the National Journal reports.

“Former Attorney General Henry McMaster could play the role of caretaker before a successor is elected in a 2014 special election … [and] State Rep. Nathan Ballentine was Haley's closest confidante in the state House, at a time when she didn't have a lot of allies. He's the dark horse.’’

The National Journal also speculates that Haley could even appoint herself to the Senate.

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