Less than an hour after South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint announced Thursday he was retiring in January to take the reins of the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation, speculation was already rampant about who Governor Nikki Haley would appoint to replace the Tea Party champion.
Among many conservatives, one candidate stood out as a common sense replacement: South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott.
Scott would be the first African American from the south since Mississippi Republican Senator Blanche Bruce lost reelection in 1881, and the first Republican black Senator since Edward Brooke in the 1970s.
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson told BuzzFeed, “I think Tim Scott would be a great addition to the Senate from South Carolina in that he is not part of the South Carolina Republican establishment in the way some of the other choices are and he is trusted by fiscal conservatives and the GOP establishment both.”
Erickson added that Scott “as the choice would also allow conservatives to focus on beating Lindsey Graham in 2014.”
“He’s been in office log enough to know the ropes, but is still fresh. That’s a big advantage,” Daily Caller contributor and radio host Matt Lewis told BuzzFeed in an email.
“I’ve also heard him speak, and he is very eloquent in regards to making the moral case for free markets. Rhetoric matters especially now — as conservatives seek to persuade Americans to give them a second look. ”
Florida-based political consultant Rick Wilson said picking Scott would be good for everybody.
“Nikki Haley would receive national accolades from the conservative movement, and beyond. Good for SC, good for her, good for the GOP, good for the movement,” Wilson said.
“Bonus: liberal racism! The arbiters of America’s racial conscience at MSNBC etc will race to declare Scott inauthenticlly black simply because he is a strong conservative. Lulz to follow,” Wilson added.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tweeted that picking Scott would be a “great choice!”
Conservative Townhall news editor Katie Pavlich wrote on Scott’s conservative record saying he was “every bit as conservative as DeMint and is a devotee to the great Thomas Sowell.”
Tim Scott’s office put out a statement Thursday were he didn’t say if he was considering the opportunity.
“Looking forward, Governor Haley will now appoint a new Senator, and I know she will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation,” Scott said.