In 2012, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley needed to appoint a U.S. senator after Jim DeMint retired from the senate to become president of the Heritage Foundation. Haley chose a second term U.S. congressman named Tim Scott to finish the last two years of DeMint’s term. It was a historic appointment. Scott was the first African American U.S. senator from South Carolina and the first U.S. senator from a Southern state since Reconstruction. At the time of the appointment Haley said, “It is important to me, as a minority female, that Congressman Scott earned this seat, he earned this seat for the person that he is. He earned this seat with the results he has shown.”
Today we learned Scott will endorse Donald Trump over Nikki Haley in the 2024 presidential race.
Here is the Associated Press:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is expected to endorse former President Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, a blow to his fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador.
A person familiar with Scott’s plans confirmed Friday to The Associated Press that Scott was expected to travel from Florida to New Hampshire with the GOP front-runner. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity due to not being allowed to discuss the plans publicly. The endorsement was first reported by The New York Times.
Scott last May launched his own bid to challenge Trump before shuttering his effort about six months later, having trouble gaining traction in the polls, despite millions invested by high-profile donors.
In his efforts to run a positive campaign, Scott was often overshadowed by other candidates — particularly on the debate stage, where he seemed to disappear as others sparred.
Unlike those two, however, who were more reticent to critique Trump as they ran against him, Scott was at times critical of the former president during his own campaign.
There has been speculation that Scott could potentially be a running mate option for Trump, should the former president win the GOP nomination. When Scott entered the race in May, Trump welcomed his latest competitor with open arms, wishing him “good luck” with hospitality that some suggested was an acknowledgment that Trump saw an increased number of competitors beneficial to his own bid.
Scott’s endorsement was sought by the remaining major contenders in the Republican primary, particularly ahead of South Carolina’s Feb. 24 primary, which has historically been influential in determining the eventual nominee.
Read the rest here.
Notice the timing of the endorsement. Scott did not wait until the South Carolina primary (February 24, 2024) to endorse Trump. Instead, he did it on the weekend before the New Hampshire primary where Trump is in a close battle with Haley. This tells me that team Trump knows its candidate is vulnerable in Granite State on Tuesday.
Prior to dropping out of the race last November, Scott was probably the most evangelical candidate running for the GOP nomination. South Carolina is filled with evangelicals, especially in The Upstate. (Remember George W. Bush at Bob Jones University?). I don’t think Trump needs Scott to win over these evangelicals, but it will certainly help.