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Tim Scott: Conservative Profile

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Tim Scott: Conservative Profile

US Rep Tim Scott speaks at the 2012 Republican National Convention

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Tim Scott Overview:

Tim Scott is a business owner and a conservative US Congressman from the state of South Carolina. Scott is a lifelong resident of Charleston. He was born in the city in 1965 and even went to college locally, graduating from Charleston Southern university in 1988. Scott is a fiscal and social conservative.

As of 2012, Scott is the only black member of congress from either party to be voted into office by a non-minority drawn district. Roughly 75% of the voters in his district are white. In 2010, Scott shared this distinction with Florida congressman Allen West. West was defeated narrowly in 2012.

Political Career:

Tim Scott first served on the Charleston County Council from 1995 until 2008, and acted as the government body's chairman for the final two years. He then served in the South Carolina House of Representatives for one-term before running for the US Congress after Republican Henry E. Brown Jr decided to retire.

Scott was one of nine candidates looking to win the Republican nomination in the safe-GOP district. He received 32% of the vote in the first round of voting, and then 68% in a runoff election against Paul Thurmond, son of longtime US Senator Strom Thurmond. Scott went on to win the general election in 2010 with over 65% of the vote, and re-election in 2012 with over 60%.

Tea Party Support:

Tim Scott is a favorite of tea party voters and the conservative base. He received the support of Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Jim DeMint during the primaries. He also enjoyed the support of most conservative activist groups and think tanks, such as the Club for Growth. Scott is considered a rising star within the Republican Party and is well-liked by both the tea party and establishment wings of the party.

US Senate Speculation:

In December of 2012, US Senator Jim DeMint announced he would resign his seat in order to head the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think-tank. As a result, his vacancy would be filled by Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina. A special election would be held in 2014, with the possible appointee being a likely candidate to fill out the rest of the term. Scott immediately became the favorite to be appointed to the seat, with few other potential picks being heavily touted early on. The conservative blogosphere lit up endorsements as the potential to replace DeMint with another solid conservative is seen as a top priority. Scott would be the only black US Senator if appointed to the seat. Some have also expressed a desire to see Scott challenge US Senator Lindsey Graham - also up for re-election in 2014 - but that is seen as a less likely scenario.

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