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6 Things To Know About The First Black Republican In The Senate In 33 Years

Rep. Tim Scott, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's pick to fill Sen. Jim DeMint's seat, will be the South's first black senator since Reconstruction.

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1. Scott Is a Tea Party Darling

Rep. Scott is a member of the Tea Party movement that departing Sen. Jim DeMint helped establish in Congress during the 2010 midterm elections. During the 2011 debt ceiling debate, Scott refused to support House Speak Boehner's plan to resolve the crisis. Scott held out for a "stronger provision to guarantee a balanced-budget amendment," according to the Washington Post. But Scott remains a favorite of the speaker — helping Boehner keep ties with the conservative faction of the caucus while serving in his leadership team as a member of the 2010 freshman class.

2. Scott Is a Social Conservative

In a section of his website headlined "Defending traditional values," Scott explains that he is "unapologetically pro-life," will "fight for religious freedoms," and supports "traditional marriage." The institution of marriage, says Scott, "is the unity of one man and one woman. Allowing the government to weaken the definition of marriage takes away from our children and we must not allow that to happen."

3. Scott Was Raised by a Single Mother

Scott was raised by his mother, Frances Scott, who worked 16-hour-a-day shifts as a nurse's assistant. "Growing up in a single-parent home left me a bit disillusioned about life," Scott has said. "My parents divorced when I was around the age of 7. By the time I entered high school, I was completely off track. My mother was working hard, trying to help me realize that there was a brighter future, but I really couldn't see it."


4. Scott's Childhood Mentor Was an Evangelical Manager at a Chick-fil-A

When Scott was struggling in school, he met evangelical conservative John Moniz, who was a manager at a local Chick-fil-A, where Scott would go to "get french fries all the time," Scott has said. "Over the course of three or four years, John transformed my way of thinking, which changed my life...the lessons that John was teaching me were maybe simple lessons, but they were profound lessons."

5. Scott Is a Strong Supporter of the Second Amendment

"I stand strongly in support of our Second Amendment rights," reads Scott's website. "The Constitution grants South Carolinians the right to defend themselves and their families, and I will continue fighting to ensure that right it is not weakened in anyway." Scott has supported multiple bills in Congress that protect Second Amendment rights.

6. Scott Says Race Hasn't Factored into His Success

Asked by the National Journal if race has affected or encouraged his success in politics, Scott "scratched his head, paused, and looked to the ceiling for inspiration. 'No, no, not really,' he said. 'No. I don’t think they care. I don’t think they care at all. Not much.'"

Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Ruby Cramer at

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