Senator Tim Scott is a product of Republican reverse racism and low expectations, according to a Bloomberg View editorial board member.
In a racially charged screed entitled “Do Republicans Lower the Bar for Blacks?” Francis Wilkinson dismisses South Carolina Republican Scott, the first African American to represent a southern state in the upper chamber since the Republican senators of the Reconstruction era, as a “thing most rare and precious” who offers the GOP “both an absolution for the past and a shield for the present and future.”
Wilkinson offers little evidence for his thesis, and at least one claim — that Scott has achieved his place in the Senate by being “so far to the right that there was no space for a Tea Party challenge” — that seems to suggest Scott holds his seat through his own political abilities rather than any special racial treatment from the GOP. Nevertheless, he sums up his racial theory confidently:
In effect, South Carolina Republicans treat Scott like the national party previously treated the ham-handed presidential candidate Herman Cain and the party’s not-quite-competent chairman during Obama’s first term, Michael Steele: They are members of an endangered political species for whom the bar is effectively lowered.
Affirmative action based on race has taken quite a beating at the Supreme Court, in state legislatures and at the ballot box. In the Republican Party, however, affirmative action can punch your ticket like nobody’s business.
For the record, black Democrats are held to the most rigorous standards of excellence and skill:
At first glance, it would be easy to mistake that firm, based in Chicago, for Axelrod & Associates, the Chicago-based political consulting firm founded by Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod — which later changed its name to AKPD Message and Media. The LLC filing with the state of Illnois for the Axelrod-Wade group lists Michael Axelrod, son of David Axelrod.
The Axelrod-Wade Group, a limited-liability corporation, did not last very long, it seems. It was formed on May 25, 2011, shortly after Wade departed the Department of Commerce, and involuntarily dissolved by the State of Illinois on November 9, 2012.
Wade is currently the “Senior Vice President and head of China Operations” at GreenTech Automotive, the electric-car firm formerly headed by Terry McAuliffe, who was elected governor of Virginia in November.
Down in South Carolina, one Republican lawmaker with a famous name is declaring that he’s not interested in running for the seat soon to be vacated by Tim Scott, who will become the Palmetto State’s newest senator next Wednesday.
Some contenders already are bowing out, including newly elected state Sen. Paul Thurmond, R-Charleston.
Thurmond said Monday he was humbled by the number of people asking him to run but that he could best serve his District 41 constituents by ending speculation that he will seek the seat being vacated soon by Rep. Tim Scott.
Thurmond came closest to Scott in the crowded GOP congressional primary in 2010, and he was among almost two dozen possible Republican candidates to seek the seat again, Charleston County Chair Lin Bennett said.
Thurmond is, of course, the son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond, who represented the state in the Senate for 48 years.
Filing for the vacated congressional seat will begin at noon on Jan. 18 and continue for ten days. The primary is scheduled for March 19 — right now, there is only one Democrat interested in running, state representative Wendell Gilliard, of Charleston — and the general election for the seat will be on May 7. It will be the first major election conducted under the state’s new photo-ID law.
The Post and Courier lists the small army of candidates being mentioned on the Republican side:
On the GOP side, potential candidates include former Gov. Mark Sanford and his ex-wife, former first lady Jenny Sanford; state Sens. Chip Campsen and Larry Grooms; state Reps. Chip Limehouse, Peter McCoy, Jim Merrill and Andy Patrick; Charleston County Councilman Elliott Summey; Dorchester County Councilman Jay Byars; Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings; Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson; former state Sen. John Kuhn; former Charleston County School Board member Larry Kabrovsky; former Charleston County Council members Curtis Bostic and Joe McKeown; and Lowcountry businessmen Keith Blandford, Carroll Campbell, Mark Lutz, Bob Menges and Teddy Turner.
Missouri 8th Congressional District, where Rep. Jo Ann Emerson announced she would resign in February. The date for this special election has not been determined yet; the candidates for Republicans and Democrats will be selected by the party committees.
South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, where Rep. Tim Scott has been appointed the state’s next U.S. Senator. The special election will be held 18 weeks after Scott’s formal resignation from the House, likely setting the special election for May.
Massachusetts Senate: Presuming that President Obama selects John Kerry as his next Secretary of State, Gov. Deval Patrick would appoint an interim senator to serve until a special election could be held, most likely in May or June. The interim senator would have the option of running in the special election to fill out the remainder of Kerry’s term, which ends in January 2015.
In Hawaii, the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye means that Gov. Neil Ambercrombie will select a replacement to serve until 2014, when a special election is held (the interim senator may and probably will run in the special election). If Ambercrombie selects Rep. Colleen Hanabusa– reportedly the dying wish of the senator – then Hawaii will hold a special election to fill her seat 60 days after she resigns her House office.)
Multiple media sources are reporting that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will indeed name Rep. Tim Scott to be the next senator from South Carolina.
Scott will serve for two years, and then presumably run in a special election in 2014. If reelected, he would serve an additional two years (the remaining two years of the six-year term Jim DeMint was elected to in 2010) and then potentially run again for a full-six year term in 2016.
Tim Scott will instantly become a major figure in the GOP, as the lone African-American Republican in Congress. (The symbolism of Scott representing the home state of Strom Thurmond in the Senate, after beating Thurmond’s son in his first U.S. House race, is quite powerful.) He is a genuine rising star in South Carolina politics, with Southern charisma to spare, punctuating his Obama critiques this past year with bursts of “hit the road, Jack.”
But South Carolina doesn’t lack Republicans with ambition, and those who aspire to the Senate will have a choice in 2014: challenge the appointed Sen. Tim Scott (and run the risk of a white challenger unseating the party’s the lone black representative) or take on the other incumbent, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has periodically irked conservatives over the years but also spent recent years trying to win those conservative constituents back.
South Carolina does not get polled often, but Public Policy Polling found this month that 47 percent have a favorable opinion of Tim Scott, only 13 percent unfavorable, and 40 percent unsure.
UPDATE: I’m hearing that DeMint is likely to formally resign the Senate on Jan. 2 and that Scott, along with all of the other new senators who were elected in November, will be sworn in on Jan. 3.
S.C. voters re-elected Mr. DeMint by a large margin in 2010. Thus, his replacement should be a good match for the outgoing senator’s conservative philosophy. Rep. Scott fits the bill — and is in especially close agreement with Sen. DeMint on the long-overdue necessities of restraining runaway federal spending and reforming entitlement programs.
» Whoever replaces Mr. DeMint must operate in the political realm. But the governor’s finalists include two people who have never even run for office. South Carolina doesn’t need a senator who’s learning politics on that high-stakes job — or one who has never earned the voters’ approval.
Rep. Scott has ample experience in elective offices — and in winning them. He served 13 years on Charleston County Council and two in the S.C. House before being elected to the U.S. House in 2010. Last month, he won a second congressional term by a large margin.
State Rep. Chip Limehouse smiled broadly. The Republican was in what he called home territory and said he’s often at Summerville events. But he’s also eyeing Congressman Tim Scott’s seat that could become vacant if the tea party congressional star is nabbed for Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointment to U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint’s seat. And while Summerville isn’t in Limehouse’s state house district, it is in Scott’s Congressional District 1.
“There’s speculation that Gov. Haley may pick Tim Scott to fill the vacancy,” Limehouse said. ”It’s not premature. It’s just a good thing regardless of whether the race occurs or not … If that occurs I will definitely be strongly considering entering the race. At this point, all I can say is that I hope Tim Scott gets picked by the governor.”
A special election would be required to fill the Congressional seat. But Limehouse isn’t the only politician waiting to see who the governor appoints. S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Goose Creek, has also expressed interest in seeking Scott’s seat.
“I definitely would give it a hard look,” Grooms said. “It’s just premature talk right now.”
UPDATE: CNN is reporting Haley called former state attorney general Henry McMaster and told him he is not her selection.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Kurt Pickhardt, Haley’s political director, just Tweeted, “Today is going to be historic.” While you can interpret that remark many ways, it certainly seems to hint to Tim Scott, who would become the first black Senator from a Southern state since Blanche Bruce in 1881; only the second from the South in U.S. history and only the seventh black Senator in U.S. history.
Alternatively, either former first lady Jenny Sanford or Catherine Templeton, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, would be the first woman senator from South Carolina if named by Haley.
Jim DeMint’s sudden resignation from the Senate to head up the Heritage Foundation makes a lot of sense for him (the preeminent position at one of, if not the, most preeminent conservative think tanks, his to enjoy for perhaps decades) and a lot of sense for the organization.
But there’s reason for a lot of conservatives to feel disappointed. There’s been an accusation – sometimes fair, sometimes not – that some conservative lawmakers want to take a pure and uncompromising stance, but who prefer to do so safely from the metaphorical sidelines. Conservatives complain that they never get one of their own in leadership in the House or Senate, but any conservative who did would run the risk of acknowledging the hard truth of the job: sometimes the best deal you can get is half a loaf. And once you became the guy who negotiated the “half a loaf” deal, you lose your “true conservative” street cred.
I’m hearing some folks say DeMint will be able to fight for his causes better at Heritage than from within the U.S. Senate, and that strikes me as debatable. He’s going from a position where he can influence the writing of legislation to a position where he can influence the writing of white papers. Is he really going to have more success persuading lawmakers as a head of a think tank – even one as respected and well-regarded as Heritage – than as a colleague?
In the meantime, this sets up a free-for-all in the sharp-elbowed world of South Carolina Republican politics, and greatly lessens the chance of a serious conservative challenge to Lindsey Graham.
Governor Nikki Haley is going to have a lot of options to choose from in the coming days or weeks:
State Sen. Tom Davis, popular in his Low Country district and once frequently-mentioned as a possible challenger to Graham; surprised some Republicans by backing Ron Paul in the 2012 GOP presidential primary.
State Attorney General Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson. The younger Wilson was just elected in 2010 to a four-year term, and he may not be eager to leave so soon.
Rep. Joe Wilson has been asked about running for statewide office many times and indicated he’s happy with his role in the House.
Keep in mind that any of the above figured who are not picked as DeMint’s interim successor could very well challenge the picked successor or Graham in the 2014 primaries.
I can’t begrudge DeMint or Heritage this decision, but a lot of headaches are going to flow forth from this…
He’s low in the polls, but he’s having fun: Jon Huntsman is joined by some South Carolina Republicans, Rep. Tim Scott and former state attorney general Henry McMaster, singing “Hit the Road, Jack” to President Obama.
This may be a pleasantly early night for election-returns watchers.
With 32 percent of precincts reporting in the GOP runoff for governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley leads Gresham Barrett, 62 percent to 38 percent. She’s just been declared the winner.
In the 1st congressional district, with 26 percent of precincts reporting, Tim Scott is way ahead of Paul Thurmond, 72 percent to 28 percent.
In another GOP House primary, Rep. Bob Inglis appears to be going down in flames, trailing Trey Gowdy 72 percent to 28 percent, with 31 percent of precincts reporting.
In North Carolina, Elaine Marshall is beating Cal Cunningham in the Democratic Senate primary, 62 percent to 37 percent, with 27 percent of precincts reporting. The winner takes on incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr.
In a hotly contested battle in the North Carolina’s 8th congressional district, former body-armor executive Tim D’Annunzio trails retired Charlotte television sportscaster Harold Johnson, 66 percent to 33 percent, with only 5 percent of precincts reporting so far.
UPDATE: In my e-mailbox:
Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary runoff in South Carolina and will face Democratic state Senator Vincent Sheheen in November. Republican Governors Association Executive Director Nick Ayers today issued the following statement:
“Nikki Haley’s historic victory in South Carolina is a testament to her hard work, perseverance and determination. Her success ushers in a new era of South Carolina politics, and represents a growing new generation of Republican leaders from across the country. We congratulate her on besting an experienced field of challengers, first capturing the most votes in the primary and then winning the short runoff.
“Now the attention turns to the general election, where Nikki Haley will offer a clear vision of lower taxes, reduced government interference, and greater economic opportunity and job creation. Her Democratic opponent will simply bring the same tired policies: increased reliance on government, higher taxes and meddling in the private sector.
“We look forward to working with Nikki Haley and her campaign to ensure that she earns a tremendous and well-deserved victory in November.”
UPDATE: With more than half the precincts reporting, Tim Scott leads with more than 73 percent. Wonder what it will take to call this one.
In the South Carolina state attorney general’s race, Joe Wilson’s son, Alan Wilson, leads 57–42 over Leighton Lord, with 12 of 46 counties reporting.
ANOTHER UPDATE: 8:45 p.m., the AP calls it for Tim Scott. Meet the man likely to be the first African-American Republican congressman since J. C. Watts:
It’s primary day in Utah, and runoff day in South Carolina, Utah, and North Carolina.
In South Carolina, Republicans will pick their gubernatorial nominee between Nikki Haley and Gresham Barrett. The past two weeks have seen no anti-Haley bombshells, so she is expected to win; in the first round, she had 49 percent to about 22 percent for Barrett. But because a little over 50 percent voted for someone else last time, it’s possible this might not be the rout that the first round’s results would suggest. Haley represents overturning the established order of Palmetto State GOP politics, and there are a lot of folks who are comfortable with the way things are already.
Down-ticket, Leighton Lord and Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson, are fighting for the GOP nomination to be state attorney general. A mysterious group is running ads against Wilson, claiming he’s just a “Good Ole Boy” who once failed the bar exam. The ads are enough to get his father to yell, “YOU L-” — eh, you know, that joke is just too easy.
Also down-ticket in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district is the GOP runoff for U.S. House; Tim Scott is expected to finish ahead of Paul Thurmond, son of the longtime senator. This is an R+10 district, and so the winner is likely to go on to win in November; if elected, Scott would be the first African-American Republican in the House since J. C. Watts retired.
I notice Thurmond is running an attack ad that simultaneously criticizes Scott for supporting more spending and for opposing funding for harbor dredging.
South Carolina senator Jim DeMint — you know, General Wellington, who’s taking on the weirdo who won the Democratic primary — is praising Tim Scott, one of the Republicans in a runoff in the Palmetto State’s 1st congressional district. (This praise is not an endorsement, I’m told.)
Tim is making a strong statement against wasteful Washington spending. It takes courage to fight the culture of earmarks and I commend him for it. Those who come to Washington believing it’s their job to bring home the bacon become part of the problem the moment they take the oath of office.