After Allen West's loss in the 2012 election, the GOP was set to have only one African American congressman in their ranks. With South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's decision to appoint Rep. Tim Scott to the Senate seat vacated by tea party favorite Jim Demint, Scott will now become the only African American Senator from either party and the first from the South in modern history. A closer look at his track record in the state legislature and House of Representatives shows he might become one of the most conservative new members of the Senate as well.
Before Scott was elected to Congress, he worked to erect a monument to aborted fetuses in South Carolina. One of his first steps of his freshman term in the House of Representatives involved co-sponsoring legislation to take food stamps away from families if a parent went on strike. He's a stalwart opponent to the Affordable Care Act and, like many of his tea party brethren, contends that Washington has a "spending problem," but worked to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds for a Charleston harbor project.
What about his votes in the House?
- Ryan budget—Yes
- Defunding Planned Parenthood—Yes
- Repealing the Affordable Care Act— Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
According to the National Journal's liberal/conservative rankings, Tim Scott is tied for 80th place of the most conservative members of the house. That means people like Michele Bachmann, Paul Ryan, Louie Gohmert, and Scott's fellow South Carolinian Joe Wilson—who infamously called President Obama a liar during his 2010 State of the Union address—are apparently more liberal than Scott.
It's unclear if Scott will pursue an equally conservative agenda in the Senate, but he did stick to his "spending problem" mantra during a TV appearance Monday night. Scott will be held responsible for whatever voting record he racks up. Thanks to South Carolina rule, he has to run in 2014 in order to serve out the remainder of DeMint's term, which ends in 2016.