Friday, December 7, 2012

Replacing Sen. Jim DeMint

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) stunned the political world by announcing his intent to resign from the U.S. Senate in January to accept a job as president of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC.  His division to walk away from the Senate comes four years before his second term was to expire and, apparently, two years earlier than most political watchers expected.  DeMint had indicated that he did not plan to run for a third term leaving most observers expecting a 2014 early departure if he did not intend to complete the term.

South Carolina law dictates that the governor shall appoint a replacement.  That means the task falls to Gov. Nikki Haley.  She posted the following on her Facebook page about how she will approach making her choice:

Nothing about that statement should be surprising to anyone.  She's the governor, she's Republican and to think she would appoint someone who was not Republican or of like mind would be naive.  Here's what stands out: "I will appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share."  First, if Jim DeMint wants to ensure someone who shares his philosophy is in the seat, he should stay.  I am not a fan of DeMint's politics but he was elected by a majority of South Carolina voters.
Second, despite what the law dictates, one person should not be able to make this kind of choice for the entire electorate.  That said, if I were in Haley's position, I would look for someone who is willing to serve until the next general election (2014) but has no desire or intention to run for the seat in that election.  We all know what the power of incumbency can mean for a candidate.  Elected incumbency is one thing.  Appointed incumbency is an entirely different thing.   That kind of power should not be allowed to taint the election to fill out Sen. DeMint's uncompleted term.

(L-R) Henry McMaster, Rep. Tim Scott, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Mark Sanford
Several names have been tossed around as possible choices, including former SC Attorney General Henry McMaster, U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, and U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney.  When you think of like minded people to Gov. Haley, I think you could also include former Gov. Mark Sanford on the list.  I have no opinion on who the governor should tap, beyond feeling that it should be a person who accepts the appointment with no intention to seek election.  If they plan to run in 2014, then they should wait until then and let the people decide in a wide-open race.  The governor's appointment should, in effect, be an interim senator.

What do you think?


  1. Mike, did I miss something, there are no women on this list. Can you provide some potential names in the state. Or will the ladies have to wait until there is truly an election, or does the governor have eyes on the seat?

  2. So far, all of the potential appointees being mentioned in the media are men. Keep in mind, all of that talk is PURE SPECULATION. The Governor's Offices has not leaked any potential names.