DemDaily: The Expanding GOP Field. Senator Tim Scott Announces Presidential Bid

May 22, 2023

Republican Senator Tim Scott announced his 2024 presidential bid today, adding to the GOP field of contenders that is likely to expand over the coming weeks.

The spirited South Carolina Senator, who launched a cross-country "Faith In America" listening tour in February and filed an exploratory committee in April, proclaimed his candidacy before a Charleston crowd this morning, saying, “Our party and our nation are standing at a time for choosing.”

Scott, the Senate's only Black Republican, was first appointed to the US Senate by then-Governor and now-presidential rival Nikki Haley (R) in 2013 to replace Senator Jim DeMint (R), who left the Senate to become President of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation.

Scott won a 2014 special election to serve the final two years of DeMint's term, and was elected to a full term in 2016 with 60.6% of the vote. He was reelected in 2022, defeating Democrat Krystle Matthews 62.9% to 37.1%.

He previously served in the US House from 2011 to 2013, as a State Representative from 2009 to 2011, and as a Charleston County Councilor from 1995 to 2009.

As detailed in his book America, A Redemption Story, Scott grew up in working-class poverty in North Charleston with his mother Frances, a nursing assistant, after his parents divorced when he was seven years old. He graduated from Charleston Southern University in 1988 and worked as an insurance agent and financial adviser before entering public service at age 30. Scott, who is single, owns an insurance agency, Tim Scott Allstate, and is a partner in Pathway Real Estate Group, LLC.

In the US Senate, Scott sits on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; the Finance Committee; the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging.

Conservative Credentials
A devout evangelical Protestant, Scott, 57, proudly touts his conservative bona fides. He has said he would sign a 20-week federal abortion ban into law if elected president; opposes same-sex marriage and co-sponsored the PROTECT Kids Act, which would restrict federal funding to institutions that allow preferred pronouns, provide gender-fluid bathrooms, and conceal children's sexual orientation from their parents.

Scott supported repeal of the Affordable Care Act, has introduced a number of anti-union measures, and is against a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He supported former President Donald Trump's withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement and, as a self-described "architect" of Trump’s tax law, has been a longtime champion of rolling back regulations on big banks.

Scott authored the 2021 JUSTICE Act, which broke with some GOP lawmakers on certain aspects of police reform, but was ultimately filibustered by Democrats.

Despite his ideological zeal, Scott is personally popular among fellow Senators of both parties. Also a formidable fundraiser, he begins his campaign with $22 million transferred from his Senate account.

Scott launched a $5.5 million ad campaign last Friday that will air in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire through the first GOP presidential debate in August.

Update on the Field
Scott is the sixth candidate to enter the GOP nomination, including Trump, Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, author and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and conservative talk show host Larry Elder.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to officially enter the race this week, with former Vice President Mike Pence and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu waiting in the wings.

Other names floated for the nomination include former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Wyoming Congressman Liz Cheney, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, former US Ambassador John Bolton and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin was thought to be out of contention, but recently released a campaign-style video that suggests otherwise.

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: Biden: No One Left Behind 5/4/23
DemDaily: Biden Back In The Fight 4/25/23
DemDaily: GOP Files First Fundraising Numbers 4/18/23
DemDaily: With Intent to Defraud and Conceal 4/4/23
DemDaily: Indictment Divides Expanding GOP Field 4/3/23
DemDaily: CPAC Kowtows to Trump 3/6/23
DemDaily: Red State, Blue State 2/27/23
DemDaily: The Contenders. The GOP Field Takes Shape 2/21/23

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Washington Post, CNN, NPR, NYT

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