Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says the appointment of Congressman Tim Scott, R-S.C., to the Senate could help Republicans and the Tea Party among African-Americans.
Scott will succeed retiring Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving for the Heritage Foundation. The appointment will make Scott the only black senator in the chamber next year.
As observers note, Scott’s prominence is due in large part to the Tea Party wave that elected him in 2010.
Scott touts a Tea Party message of drastically smaller government, and beyond that he has endeared himself to many conservatives with his willingness to criticize President Obama.
Scott’s record on fiscal issues has also left an impression on many within his party. Tea Party Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky thinks Scott can help the GOP improve its poor standing with black voters.
“It’s a good idea for us, and it will help us make inroads where we don’t seem to have been doing very well lately with the African-American vote,” Paul says.
The GOP struggled among racial minorities in the 2012 presidential race, losing 7 of 10 Hispanic voters and more than 9 of 10 black voters. Those numbers weren’t helped by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who said Mr. Obama won by promising “gifts” to minorities.
An article in The Root echoes Paul’s point, however, and focuses on how Scott could show if there’s a “broader market for a Tea Party-friendly philosophy among black voters” and attract minorities.
And as a symbol of a younger, more diverse GOP, the 47-year-old congressman has a chance.
From The Root:
… it’s an opportunity for Scott to start trying to put his stamp on the post-Obama era—if he figures out what Republicans so far haven’t: how to pitch staunchly conservative policies to black and Latino voters. And it’s an opportunity to see if there’s an audience (inside or outside the GOP) to resurrect initiatives like Jack Kemp-style “empowerment zones” or some other type of small-government, free-market agenda in a way that has a meaningful impact on minority communities.
Scott’s positions put him in the right-wing end of the party, but he is seen by many to be more like former RNC Chairman Michael Steele or former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice than former Congressman Allen West, who was a lightning rod for controversy.