Republicans still hungover from the 2012 elections have had a little jolt of excitement (and, yes, fear) about an opportunity in the US Senate. Jim DeMint announced he was leaving the US Senate to run the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank. As one of the few anti-establishment and tea party conservatives in the US Senate, his loss will be missed. (He often fought against the status-quo GOP leadership.) When he steps down in January, the vacancy will be picked by Governor Nikki Haley. Haley was a tea party candidate in 2010 who received a big boost after Sarah Palin backed her candidacy during the primary.
There have been rumors of who could be picked, but conservatives have made their choice absolutely clear: US Rep Tim Scott. Scott has emerged as the clear favorite among tea party activists, conservative writers, Sarah Palin, and Jim DeMint, the man he would replace. Likewise, a poll showed Scott as the slight favorite among South Carolina voters in almost every tested scenario (leaving out the implausible choice of Stephen Colbert).