State 125

Tim Scott makes history in SC, national politics

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference in Washington last month.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference in Washington last month. File photo/AP

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s rise in S.C. politics has been history in the making.

The North Charleston Republican was the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate from a Southern state since Reconstruction. Scott also is the only black Republican in the U.S. Senate.

His personal story, the foundation for his message to voters, resonates in a Republican Party trying to appeal to minorities.

Raised in a single-parent household, Scott said he nearly dropped out of school before he met John Moniz, a fast-food operator, who Scott credits with instilling in him conservative values.

Scott started out in business as the owner of an insurance franchise and partner in a real-estate company.

He got his political start in 1995 on Charleston County Council, where he held office until he was elected in 2008 to the S.C. House of Representatives. Two years later, Scott was elected to represent the state’s 1st District congressional seat.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Scott to the U.S. Senate in December 2012 to fill the vacancy left by Jim DeMint, who resigned to run a conservative think tank.

S.C. Republicans effectively cleared the path for Scott to win his first statewide election in 2014. Unchallenged by any serious GOP opponents, Scott ran to hold on to the Senate seat and soundly defeated the Democratic nominee in a special election.

Jamie Self

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