October 4, 2023


Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina plans to launch an exploratory committee for president on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with his plans.

Scott – the only Black Republican in the Senate – has been testing the waters for months. Since setting off on a listening tour in February focused on “Faith in America,” he’s made frequent visits to Iowa.

He’s scheduled to hold events in the early voting state on Wednesday.

The Post and Courier was first to report on the plans.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past few months,” Scott wrote in a Tuesday night email to his supporters teasing a Wednesday morning announcement on Fox. “I’ve been thinking about my faith. I’ve been thinking about the future of our country. And I’ve been thinking about the Left’s plan to ruin America.”

Scott easily won reelection to the Senate last fall and ended the year with more than $21 million in his campaign account, which he could use for a presidential bid.

Former President Donald Trump, who announced his campaign to win back the White House last fall, has led the GOP primary field, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – who has yet to announce a bid – has also attracted attention from GOP voters. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson – a frequent Trump critic – announced that he’s running for the GOP nomination earlier this month. And Scott’s fellow South Carolinian, former Gov. Nikki Haley, announced her bid in February.

Scott declined to endorse Haley – who appointed him to a vacant Senate seat in 2012 – a sign that he could seek the presidency himself. Both South Carolinians had attended the anti-tax group Club for Growth’s donor retreat in Palm Beach earlier this year alongside other potential GOP candidates.

At a Christian conservative forum in his home state last month, Scott took aim at President Joe Biden’s economic policy and what he called the “disrespect” of law enforcement.

He said that to “restore faith in America, we must be the party of security,” arguing for more funding for police departments and to “close the US southern border, period.”

Scott spent months in Congress trying unsuccessfully to hash out a deal on policing reform with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and then-Rep. Karen Bass of California. He spoke on the Senate floor following the brutal police beating and death of Tyre Nichols earlier this year, while calling on his colleagues to agree on “simple legislation” regarding police reform.

He’s occasionally spoken out against Trump – for example, after the former president equivocated on racially motivated protesters and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

“I’m not going to defend the indefensible. I’m not here to do that,” Scott said in an interview with Vice News at the time, going on to add that Trump’s “moral authority” had been “compromised.”

Scott delivered the GOP response to Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress in 2021, which gave him a prominent national platform from which to speak to the country and counter Biden’s message.

Before joining the Senate, Scott served one term in the US House. He also served in the South Carolina state House and on the Charleston County Council.

This story has been updated with additional information.


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