WASHINGTON – Prominent Republicans and leading conservative groups on Monday cheered the choice of Rep. Tim Scott to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint as South Carolina’s junior senator.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a leading potential 2016 presidential candidate who has pushed for greater diversity in the party, praised the selection of Scott to become the second African-American Republican senator since Reconstruction, and the first from the South.
“I’ve gotten to know Congressman Scott since his election to the House of Representatives two years ago,” Rubio said in a prepared statement. “I know him to be a passionate, thoughtful and sincere advocate for the people of South Carolina and for limited government principles.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell welcomed Scott to the bloc of 47 Senate Republicans.
“As a solid conservative who fights hard for the values and principles he believes in, Tim will help us find real, lasting solutions to the economic challenges facing our nation in the 113th Congress,” McConnell, of Kentucky, said in a statement. “This is truly an historic moment for the Palmetto State from a governor who’s broken more than a few barriers in her own career.”
Scott will be the first black U.S. senator from South Carolina. Nikki Haley, the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, became the state’s first female and first ethnic minority governor with her 2010 election. She announced Monday that she’d chosen Scott to replace DeMint.