COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Rep. Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate on Monday, making him the South’s first black Republican senator since Reconstruction in a state whose politics is steeped in the history of slavery and Civil War.
It speaks to the evolution of South Carolina and our nation, Scott, 47, said of his appointment to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Jim DeMint, a conservative who resigned his post with four years left in his second term to head a right-leaning think tank.
Haley, a daughter of Indian immigrants who became South Carolina’s first female and minority governor in 2010, acknowledged making history with her appointment, but she stressed that she picked Scott for his conservative values.
He earned this seat for what I know he’s going to do in making South Carolina and our country proud, she said.
Scott, 47, will be sworn in Jan. 3. Senate Republicans welcomed the appointment, which comes more than a month after Republicans’ poor performance with minorities in the election forced soul-searching in the party to broaden its appeal.
He’ll become only the fourth black Republican in Senate history and the only black Republican in Congress, after Rep. Allen West of Florida lost his re-election bid last month.