In the wave of news about Virginia voters sweeping House Majority Leader Eric Cantor out of office and into the unemployment line, the media failed to pay much attention to Sen. Tim Scott's (R., S.C.) overwhelming victory in Tuesday's Republican primary.
The 48 year-old Scott won 90 percent of the vote over challenger Randall Young, who reportedly did not campaign after filing as a candidate. Scott is one of two African Americans in U.S. Senate. The other is Sen. Cory Booker (D. , N.J.), who was elected to office last October.
Scott, a Tea Party Republican, was appointed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to replace Jim DeMint, who left the Senate to lead the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation.
Before his appointment, Scott was one-term Congressman who represented South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Once in Congress, Scott refused to join the Congressional Black Caucus.
Scott replaces DeMint until a special election is held this year. In November, he will face Democrat Joyce Dickerson and Jill Bossi of the American Party. If Scott wins, he will complete the balance of DeMint's senate term and become the Palmetto State's first black-elected U.S. Senator. Dr. David Bositis, a political scientist, formerly with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, called Scott's election a lock.
"I met him last December and he makes slick Willie[Bill] Clinton seem abrasive. He will win easily," Bositis wrote in an email to The NorthStar News & Analysis.
Voters re-elected DeMint in 2010, but he resigned in 2013 with three years remaining of his term. In 2016, DeMint's old senate seat will be up for election for a full six-year term.
Although Scott is the first black person from South Carolina to serve in the U.S. Senate, Robert Smalls, a black man, who served in the U.S. Congress from 1875 to 1887, founded South Carolina's Republican Party during Reconstruction. Smalls also helped write South Carolina's constitution.
Scott is the first black Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate since Edward W. Brooke III of Massachusetts left the chamber in 1979 after having served two terms in office.