Tim Scott named DeMint's replacement in Senate

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has named Tim Scott to replace the exiting Sen. Jim DeMint's in the U.S. Senate.

"I knew he was the right person," Haley said Monday afternoon from the South Carolina State House. "As a minority female, Congressman Scott earned this seat for the person that he is."{}

Haley added that she thinks Scott will coast to victory in 2014, as well.{}

When Scott stepped to the podium, he opened with a moment of silence for the victims of Newtown, Conn. He was joined on stage by Sens. DeMint and Lindsey Graham, and Reps. Mick Mulvaney, Trey Gowdy, and Tom Rice.{}

"I believe most Americans are members of the Tea Party principally," Scott said.

DeMint announced earlier this month that he was resigning from the Senate to take the lead role at the Heritage Foundation, the country's largest conservative think tank.{}

Since DeMint's announcement, Haley's appointment choice has been speculated upon by pundits. Last week, a presumptive shortlist of candidates' names was published, including Reps. Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy, former first lady Jenny Sanford, state agency director Catherine Templeton and former state attorney Henry McMaster.{}

On Monday, DeMint said had been watching Scott's rise in the party. "You've inspired me since the first time I heard you speak in public," he said.{}

He also added that he was not leaving the Washington fight by leaving elected office.{}

"I'm not getting out of the fight; I'm raising my game," DeMint said.{}

DeMint's fellow Senator, Graham, said he would miss working with DeMint but welcomed the opportunity to work with Scott.{}

"Together we were able to put South Carolina on the map, whether we wanted to or not," Graham said. "Tim is what America's all about."

There was even a massive online campaign by comedian Stephen Colbert to secure the nomination. However, that campaign apparently fell short in a response from Haley through her Facebook page.{}

Scott had been the presumed frontrunner by many pundits since DeMint's announcement. Calls to his office Monday for information on the appointment were met with one comment: "We have not heard a thing."

Scott is the first black GOP Senator in 30 years and the first black GOP Senator from South Carolina.

"This is a day that's been long in the making in South Carolina," Graham said.

"I a one proud governor," Haley said.


Politicians respond to Scott's appointment

Rep. Jim Clyburn:{}"I congratulate Tim Scott on his appointment. I have worked with him for several years, and while we don't see eye-to-eye on most political issues and more often than not cancel out each other's votes, I believe he is the personification of South Carolina's motto, 'While I breathe, I hope.' The historic nature of this appointment is not lost on me, and I am confident Tim Scott will represent South Carolina and the country honorably."

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly:{}"South Carolina Republicans are thrilled with Governor Haley's historic selection of Rep. Scott.{}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."

SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell:{}"Filling a US Senate vacancy is no easy task for any Governor, but Governor Haley couldn't have made a better selection than Tim Scott. As I worked with Tim through his public service roles as a County Councilman, State Representative and Congressman, I have seen him grow into an exceptional leader in our state. As our state's next US Senator, Tim has the experience and principled dedication to help lead our state and our nation through some very critical times ahead. Tim is someone our citizens will immediately trust, but he is also someone who will work hard to make sure that trust is continually earned. I wish Tim the very best and look forward to working with him."

North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey:{}"Today is a proud day for the City of North Charleston. On behalf of our City, I offer heartfelt congratulations to Representative Tim Scott as Governor Nikki Haley's selection to replace Senator Jim DeMint in the United States Senate.

There are few stories as inspiring as Tim Scott's. He grew up here in North Charleston in a single-parent household of humble means, but through hard work and determination, he became a successful businessman and is now set to serve as North Charleston's first United States Senator.

I have had the pleasure of working with Representative Scott for many, many years, and have learned that at his core, it is the community and his fellow South Carolinians that he works for every day. We can all be assured that North Charleston and our great state will continue to be well represented in Washington."