Rep. Tim Scott Tapped to Fill U.S. Senate Seat

The South Carolina representative will become the first Black Republican to serve in the chamber since 1979.

Posted: 12/17/2012 11:38 AM EST
Rep. Tim Scott

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has appointed Rep. Tim Scott to fill the seat vacated by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint. He'll become the Senate's only African-American lawmaker and the first Black Republican to serve in the chamber since 1979.

His move up, and the departure of Florida Rep. Allen West, who lost his re-election bid last month, means the House GOP's number of Black lawmakers goes from an historic two to typically zero in just one term.

"I look forward to pressing the flesh on economic development issues, having the opportunity to work on making sure that our economy in this state continues to hum like an engine and get on the team with Nikki Haley to make sure that all of America continues to hear the great things about South Carolina," Scott said.

Scott was widely considered a top contender to succeed DeMint, who's leaving the Senate to head the conservative Heritage Foundation almost immediately after the senator announced his resignation.

The congressman was first elected to the House in 2010, after defeating the son of the former segregationist and longtime U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond. His new seat will be up for re-election in 2014.

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