Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) is the most recent Republican to throw his hat into the ring for the party’s 2024 White House nomination, challenging former President Trump, who holds a commanding lead in primary polls.
Scott’s official campaign launch Monday was preceded by a launch of an exploratory committee for a campaign and a filing with the Federal Election Commission. He already has the support of two of his Senate GOP colleagues — making him the only candidate other than Trump with Senate endorsements — but other members of his party have said they are skeptical his candidacy will get the necessary traction.
He launched his campaign from his hometown of North Charleston, S.C., where he grew up in a single-parent household and graduated from Charleston Southern University before starting his own business to sell insurance.
“We live in the land where it is possible for a kid raised in poverty by a single mother in a small apartment to one day serve in the People’s House and maybe even the White House,” Scott said, according to prepared remarks shared with reporters ahead of his formal announcement.
“This is the greatest country on God’s green Earth.”
Shortly after his insurance business took off, he ran and won an at-large seat on the Charleston County Council as a Republican in 1995, winning a majority white district. He then won his reelection bids in 2000 and 2004, became the council’s chairman in 2007 and ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2008.
After being elected to the state House, he served just two years before running for Congress in 2010, becoming the first Black Republican to represent South Carolina in Washington in more than a century, according to the state’s Republican Party.
The lawmaker quickly rose through the ranks to become a vocal leader on a range of issues, including race and police reform, within the Republican Party. He was appointed to the Senate in 2012 to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint, becoming the first Black senator from the South to serve since Reconstruction, as well as the first Black senator from South Carolina.
He was appointed by then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is now one of Scott’s opponents in the 2024 GOP Primary.
Scott has spearheaded efforts in the Senate that some other Republicans may stray away from, including working with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to pass a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime. He also worked with Booker to negotiate a police reform bill, but the efforts were stalled last year.
He has been outspoken about other Republican pillars, saying last month that if he were president, he would sign the “most conservative, pro-life legislation” to restrict abortion that he could.
Scott joins the race alongside Trump, Haley, conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are all still mulling their own GOP bids to challenge President Biden next year.