Haley chooses 5 finalists to succeed DeMint

12/11/2012 12:14 PM

12/11/2012 12:55 PM

Gov. Nikki Haley has a list of five finalists to succeed resigning Republican US Sen. Jim DeMint, a source close to the governor said.

US Reps. Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former First Lady Jenny Sanford and Catherine Templeton, director of the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, are on the short list, the source told The State said. CNN first reported the news.

Scott is the presumed frontrunner since he reportedly is DeMint’s favored successor. He would be the first black US senator from the South since Reconstruction if appointed.

Like Scott, Gowdy was elected to a second term in Congress in November.

McMaster threw his support to Haley after losing to her in the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2010. She appointed him to co-chair her ethics-reform study commission. He declined comment today.

Sanford, who divorced former Gov. Mark Sanford after his infamous affair, supported Haley in her election and has not dismissed talk about getting involved in politics. She helped run her former husband’s campaigns. Templeton, an attorney, has been named director at two state agencies under Haley - the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and DHEC by Haley.

Missing from the list is US Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who had been considered in political circles close behind Scott in the running for Demint’s seat.

DeMint said he will resign next month to take over the Heritage Foundation with four years remaining on his term.

Haley’s appointee will hold the office until a 2014 special election for the final two years of DeMint’s term. The governor said Monday she would not name a placeholder -- someone who could not run in 2014. Haley declined to speak with reporters about the appointment after testifying before an ethics reform commission Tuesday morning.

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