Tim Scott Deal Cut Early?
By Paul Gable
Several inside sources have told us that a deal was cut between Sen. Jim DeMint and Gov. Nikki Haley to name Rep. Tim Scott as DeMint’s Senate replacement weeks before DeMint announced his resignation.
This tracks with events since DeMint’s announcement. Scott’s was the first name heard as a possible replacement. Scott is, reportedly, the choice of Republican leaders at the state and national level because of his conservative credentials and the fact that he could give an immediate, high-profile minority visage to a party that desperately needs one.
Several candidates, eager to replace Scott in the 1st Congressional District, are already sounding out supporters in preparation for a special election.
Immediately upon hearing of DeMint’s resignation, we expected Haley to arrange for her own appointment to the seat. However, that is not to be and probably is a smart move on Haley’s part. That type of maneuvering didn’t work out very well the last time it was tried in South Carolina.
In a deal with Lt. Gov. Robert McNair, Donald Russell resigned as governor in 1965 to be named to the Senate to replace the recently deceased Sen. Olin Johnston. However, Fritz Hollings defeated Russell in the special election of 1966 to complete the final two years of Johnston’s unfinished term and went on to serve six more full terms until choosing not to seek re-election in 2004.
Haley said she will not make a caretaker appointment to replace DeMint until a special election in 2014 chooses his replacement for the final two years of the unfinished term.
However, in reality, any person Haley names to replace DeMint will be a caretaker prior to the 2014 special election. Until the voters either confirm or reject Haley’s choice at the polls, the gubernatorial appointee will be a caretaker.
And, if Scott is appointed as we hear will happen soon, don’t expect him to be unchallenged in the 2014 Republican primary. If Scott is appointed to replace DeMint, he will have to defend his seat in the 2014 special election and, again, in the 2016 general election before he can feel secure.
Expect the 2014 primary season to be quite raucous with both senate seats on the ballot.
One name that has been heard recently, during all the talk about the DeMint resignation, is that of former Gov. Mark Sanford. If DeMint is the current face of strong fiscal conservatism, Sanford is the man from whom the mold was cut.
Long before there was a Tea Party, Sanford was a Tea Party man. He steadfastly stuck to a political philosophy of low taxes, reduced government spending and balanced budgets.
At a time when term limits were the rage, Sanford pledged to serve only three terms in the House of Representatives and stuck to that pledge. I remember asking Sanford early in 2000 if he had changed his mind about seeking a fourth term in the House. He assured me he would not and he didn’t.
As governor, Sanford tried to impose his fiscal philosophy on the government of South Carolina and was cut off at the knees by the General Assembly.
Sanford has been a man of his word in politics, an unnatural state for a politician. Unfortunately, the very public breaking of his word on his marriage vows may have doomed Sanford to the political wilderness forever. It sure would be interesting to find out.