Four years ago, Rep. Tim Scott was a member of the Charleston County Council. Today, Gov. Nikki Haley will announce that the freshman Republican Congressman will take over retiring Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate seat.
It’s a meteoric ascent for a lawmaker, but in some ways it’s not all together surprising. Even before being elected, Scott had been pegged as a rising star within the Republican Party. He came to Congress noted both for his conservative cred and for the fact that he and Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., were the first two black Republicans from the South since reconstruction. Scott likes to shy away from discussing race, but it will surely come up again, now that he will be the only black member of the upper chamber.
In announcing the appointment of Scott, Haley wanted to make it clear that this was not a case of affirmative action. Haley said as a minority female herself, it was important to note that Scott "earned his seat. He earned this seat for the person that he is."
Even as a freshman, there was talk about where Scott would end up. Some thought he would run for governor, others thought he would run if DeMint retired in 2016. No one, including Scott, seemed to think he would stay put.
"The House is training for whatever the good Lord has for me next," Scott said in an interview with National Journal earlier this year. "I know that this is not the end itself. I would hope that no one aspires to stay in the House for 30 years or 20 years... I know where I’m supposed to be three and a half years from now."
That it happened quicker than he expected is a surprise, but one that has the full endorsement for DeMint, who had made it well known that he wanted Scott to replace him.
DeMint said today at the press conference that he was happy to leave the Senate knowing that "Someone is in this seat that is better than I am." He said Scott could carry the conservative message around the country "in a way that I couldn't do."
For more information on the lawmaker, check out National Journal Magazine’s March profile of Scott.