Governor Nikki Haley appointed South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott to his position in 2012 after former Senator Jim DeMint stepped down. On Tuesday, Scott was elected into the senatorial seat and became the first Black senator voted into office since the Reconstruction Era.
Scott is also the first Black person to serve in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Scott, born September 19, 1965, was reared in North Charleston and later graduated from Charleston Southern University.
Scott’s political career began in 1995 when he served on the Charleston County Council. He was the first Black Republican to hold office in the state since the late 19th Century. He stepped down from the Council in 2008.
Scott was then elected to the state’s House of Representatives, serving in the post from 2009 until 2011. His U.S. House of Representatives bid began in 2011, and ended in 2013 when his senatorial appointment began officially.
Analysts predicted that while Democratic challenger Joyce Dickerson would prove to be a formidable foe, that Scott would come out victorious. He was able to easily vanquish Dickerson and acknowledged the historic win via Twitter Tuesday night.
“My skin color is talked about often. Tonight I want to talk about it for just a moment,” tweeted Scott. “In South Carolina, in America, it takes a generation to go from having a grandfather who is picking cotton to a grandson in Congress.
Scott added, “I want to speak to the future leaders of America. Don’t let anyone define you but you. You have a responsibility to be yourself. Be proud.”
Scott will only serve for two years in the seat as DeMint’s term was not done. If Scott chooses, he can run in 2016 for a full six-year term.