Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina officially announced his presidential campaign on Monday, just a few days before the anticipated declaration from Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor, who, alongside Donald Trump, has dominated the Republican race for months.
Senator Tim Scott polling at single digits
Scott, currently standing at lower single digits in the polls, is beginning his campaign from behind. However, as the field of contenders expands, his strategic approach, appealing to both evangelical Christians and traditional conservatives, is seen as credible by many Republican donors and strategists should Trump or DeSantis stumble. His campaign boasts a significant war chest and a successful electoral track record in South Carolina, making him an appealing choice for two major voting blocs in the presidential primaries.
Speaking at his alma mater, Charleston Southern University, Scott, 57, outlined his vision. “We live in a country where a child raised by a single mother in poverty in a small apartment can rise to serve in the House of Representatives, and perhaps even the White House,” he said. Despite being neither a staunch defender nor critic of former President Trump, Scott, in 2021, stated he would support a Trump 2024 presidential bid but remained evasive regarding his own presidential aspirations. Scott’s aides maintain that he has no interest in the vice-presidential position.
Tim Scott’s success hinges on DeSantis’ campaign
His success, however, hinges on DeSantis’ campaign failing and Republican voters deciding to distance themselves from Trump. DeSantis, who has been traveling to key states, is set to officially announce his campaign soon, even as national polls suggest a decline in his popularity.
While candidates like Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Asa Hutchinson have launched their campaigns earlier this year, they continue to garner low single-digit poll numbers like Scott. Nevertheless, fellow Republican Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds from South Dakota have already endorsed Scott, with Rounds comparing him to Ronald Reagan.
Scott aims to secure the evangelical Christian vote in Iowa, drawing upon his deep-rooted faith. His past electoral successes, including his 63% victory in his re-election bid and outperforming Trump in South Carolina by almost 6% in 2016, signify his appeal to moderate and swing voters.
Tim Scott reputation growing in Republican party
Even though Scott doesn’t enjoy high national recognition, his reputation has been steadily growing within the Republican Party. His voting record in the Senate is notably conservative, but he has cooperated with Democrats on issues such as police reform. As a Black Republican, he has often spoken up about racial issues.
Entering the race with almost $22 million, Scott’s campaign funds surpass those of any previous presidential candidate. Additionally, his campaign made a significant $6 million ad purchase in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, the largest ad campaign by any candidate so far.
Following his announcement, Scott is set to meet with donors in Charleston before heading to campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire. His senatorial duties, however, may limit his ability to campaign extensively.
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