by Tony Lee 6 Dec 2012
After South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint announced Thursday he will resign from the Senate to lead the Heritage Foundation, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tweeted that Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) would be a "great choice" to replace him. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whom Palin endorsed during the 2010 South Carolina GOP gubernatorial primary, will appoint DeMint's successor for the next two years. A special election for a full six-year term will be held in 2014.
Sources told CNN that DeMint has indicated he wants Scott, a dynamic fiscal and social conservative who happens to be black, appointed to his seat.
As Republicans debate about whether the party can attract minority voters while staying true to conservative principles, Scott proves that being a conservative who happens to be a minority does not have to be mutually exclusive.
After he was elected to the House in 2010, Scott was selected to be a part of the freshman class's leadership. During the 2011 debt ceiling debate, Scott voted against the House leadership and against the compromise that created the current fiscal cliff.
"This compromise did not take enough steps towards ensuring a stable economic future in order to earn my vote," Scott said then. "The short-term spending reductions in the bill were insufficient, I believe the Balanced Budget Amendment should be mandated, and I have concerns with lingering questions regarding defense cuts."
Scott was raised by a single mother who worked 16 hours a day to keep the family off of welfare. In high school, Scott flunked most of his classes during ninth grade -- including Spanish and English.
"When you fail Spanish and English, they do not consider you bilingual," Scott wrote in 2010. "They consider you bi-ignorant because you can't speak in any language."
At this time, a manager of a local Chick-fil-A restaurant who noticed Scott would always buy fries instead of a sandwich took him aside and became his mentor when Scott was starting to believe that the only way he could "find my way out of poverty was through entertainment, whether it be a football player, cutting up in school."
When John Moniz, the Chick-fil-A manager, discovered Scott would buy fries because he could not afford a sandwich, he offered Scott a sandwich in return for lunchtime conversations, which began the mentorship.
Moniz died of a heart attack when Scott was 18, and Scott told WORLD magazine that was when he vowed to help make a difference in the lives of a billion people before he died.
"Many of the lessons he taught me never manifested themselves until after he sadly passed away. He will never know how thankful I am that he never gave up on me; that he was wise enough to know that growth takes time, especially for a teenager," Scott wrote. "He didn't need to do what he did. He didn't need to feed me sandwiches or words. But he took the time to change the life of a youngster who had the good fortune to work close by."
During the 2012 Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, Scott held a series of town halls -- "Tim's Town Halls" -- for the presidential candidates. His town halls often drew some of the the most enthusiastic audiences of the cycle -- with nearly as many people coming to see Scott as the presidential contenders.