GALIVANTS FERRY, S.C. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Tim Scott launched his reelection campaign Monday, arguing in a series of stops across South Carolina that he and other Republicans represent progress and stability for voters in this deeply conservative state.
“Sometimes you’ve got to go back to the future, and that’s a future I want to go back to,” Scott said in North Charleston, referencing the accomplishments of the Trump administration, as well as his hope that Republicans can recapture the U.S. Senate majority in next year's midterm elections.
Scott, 55, has said the 2022 Senate run would be his last. The chamber's only Black Republican, he has become one of the GOP's go-to standouts, particularly on issues of race and policing.
Scott has also begun to be mentioned as a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, with his name appearing in a straw poll conducted at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. He also gave the party’s response to President Joe Biden’s maiden address to Congress this year, accusing Democrats of dividing the country and suggesting they’re wielding race as “a political weapon.”
Scott also had a primetime speaking spot during the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Scott’s time in the spotlight has not been all partisan, however. This year, he has led a bipartisan effort on policing reforms, with negotiators saying last week they had agreed to a basic framework.
Scott previously served one U.S. House term and had just been elected to his second when then-Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him in late 2012 to succeed Jim DeMint.
Elected to a full Senate term in 2016, Scott already has the backing of former President Donald Trump, who gave him his “complete and total endorsement” earlier this year, in a statement issued through his Save America PAC. In the Senate, he often aligned with Trump, voting with him nearly 91% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.
In a launch video released Monday, Scott portrayed America as a country at a “crossroads,” potentially hurtling toward uncertainty and discord with the Biden administration at the helm, while he and Republicans represent stability.
The video features endorsements from a slew of notable Republicans, including every GOP member of South Carolina's congressional delegation except U.S. Rep. Tom Rice. The 7th District congressman — who is facing a crowded primary fight of his own after voting to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection — told The Associated Press he was not asked to be in the video but supports Scott's reelection.
“If I had heard about it, I would have done it," Rice said Monday. “He's a great senator and a credit to South Carolina and the country.”
The video also includes plaudits from former Trump administration officials who could potentially be part of a GOP presidential field with Scott, including Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Drew McKissick, South Carolina's Republican Party chairman, said Scott remains popular in the state, which he has represented well.
“He’s committed to our conservative values and explains them in a real, personal way that few others can,” McKissick said in a statement to the AP. “We’re lucky to have him as our junior senator and look forward to beating Democrats in 2022.”
Several Democrats have announced their bids to vie for the chance to challenge Scott, including Spartanburg County Democratic Party Chairwoman Angela Geter and state Sen. Krystle Matthews. No Democrat has won a statewide race in South Carolina since 2006.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.