The New York Times is reporting that following the retirement of Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) to run the Heritage Foundation, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) to fill his vacant seat:
Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has chosen Representative Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the United States Senate, according to Republican officials. The move will make Mr. Scott the first black senator from the state since the late 19th century. Ms. Haley is expected to make her announcement at noon in South Carolina, according to officials.
Scott was first elected in 2010, and will face a special election to serve out the remainder of DeMint’s term in 2014.
When DeMint first announced his intention to retire, TheBlaze fingered Scott as the most likely successor. At the time, this is what we wrote:
In a year where Republicans are increasingly fretting about their capacity to reach minorities, Tim Scott is a clear aberration. That is, he is the only African American congressman in the GOP. The fact that he survived a bruising primary battle in his first run for Congress against Paul Thurmond, son of infamous Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond, makes him a battle-tested prospect. The South Carolina establishment is already lining up behind him, and most observers view him as the clear favorite.
That prediction appears to have been true, though we won’t know for sure until noon today, when Governor Nikki Haley will announce her choice publicly.
Once Scott assumes DeMint’s seat – which he will, if these reports are accurate – he is poised to become the only currently sitting black Senator, and the first Republican black Senator since Edward Brooke in 1979. Given this, Scott will almost certainly become a highly visible face for Republicans on issues pertaining to race.
In fact, he quite arguably already had a high profile before Haley’s presumptive announcement. Here’s Scott’s brief but well-received remarks at this year’s Republican National Convention:
UPDATE: Haley has officially named Tim Scott as Jim DeMint’s successor. Video of her announcement follows.