Black GOP Congressman to Replace SC's DeMint in Senate

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    (Photo: The Christian Post/Paul Stanley)
    Rep. Tim Scott (S.C.) and Georgia Commissioner Ashley Bell speak at the Black Leadership Council Kickoff at Mecklenburg County GOP Headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 4, 2012.
By Paul Stanley, Christian Post Reporter
December 17, 2012|11:50 am

Media reports early Monday morning suggest South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R) to succeed the retiring Sen. Jim DeMint who is leaving to head up The Heritage Foundation. Scott would be the first black senator to represent the southern state since Reconstruction and only the sixth black Republican to serve in the nation's upper chamber.

Haley will make the official announcement at noon on Monday.

DeMint, who was the head of Tea Party types in the Senate, surprised even the most ardent political followers last week in announcing that he is resigning in January to lead one of the nation's most conservative leaning think tanks. Then pundits immediately focused on Haley and what type of person she would appoint to replace DeMint.

Scott's name was always one of the first mentioned by pundits to succeed DeMint, but others included former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford, Rep. Tim Gowdy and former state Attorney General Henry McMaster.

Like many in Congress, Scott cut his teeth in state politics before hitting the national stage. The 47-year-old Charleston resident served on the Charleston City County and one term in the South Carolina state Legislature before riding the conservative Tea Party wave to Congress in 2010.

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) was elected alongside Scott in 2010 and has an office next door the South Carolina Republican.

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"Tim will be a great senator," Fincher told The Christian Post. "He's solid and principled and his faith in God drives his decisions."

Chad Connelly, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, was excited about Scott's new role.

"South Carolina Republicans are thrilled with Governor Haley's historic selection of Rep. Scott," Connelly said in a statement. "Rep. Scott embodies our American dream. He is a man of faith, a small businessman, and a consistent voice for common sense reforms. We look forward to Rep. Scott carrying Senator Jim DeMint's torch of conservative leadership."

Jenny Beth Martin, leader of the Tea Party Patriots was equally thrilled with Scott's appointment.

"This is a positive step for the Tea Party Patriots and our principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. Tim Scott has taken our core values seriously in the House and we have every reason to expect similar, principled behavior in the Senate."

As a Charleston councilman in 1997, Scott supported the posting of the Ten Commandments outside of the council chambers. After the ACLU sued and had the commandments removed, Scott said, "Whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal (of displaying the Commandments) is worth it."

Yet before he ascended to Congress, Scott had to endure a tough childhood.

His single mother earned meager wages as a nurse's assistant and could only give her son the basic material possessions as a child. His parents divorced when he was 7, forcing his mother to work 16-hour days to support the family. Scott was on the verge of being kicked out of high school over his poor academic performance when the owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise gave him encouragement to succeed in life.

He later when on to earn a football scholarship to a small South Carolina school, later graduating from Charleston Southern University. Afterward, he entered the insurance and real estate professions.

After Scott vacates his House seat, it will be filled by special election.

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