South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday she won’t appoint a “placeholder” for the resigning Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, saying she wants her pick to be someone who would consider seeking re-election to the seat in 2014.
The move amps up speculation the GOP governor will appoint Rep. Tim Scott to fill the remaining two years of Mr. DeMint’s term.
“I do not want to tie the next U.S. senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office,” the governor said in a prepared statement. “I do not want to deprive our state’s citizens of the chance to render their judgment on the appointee’s performance by way of their vote.”
Mrs. Haley added that, while she is a staunch advocate for term limits, “I do not want the effectiveness of our state’s new U.S. senator to be undermined by the fact that he or she will automatically be leaving the office such a very short time after assuming it.”
The governor wouldn’t say who she will appoint, but a popular choice is Mr. Scott, who will be the only black Republican in Congress when the new Congress convenes in January.
Others mentioned as possible replacements include South Carolina GOP Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Trey Gowdy, state Treasurer Curtis Loftis, state Sen. Tom Davis and former state Attorney General Henry McMaster.
Mr. DeMint announced Thursday he will resign from office next month to run the conservative Heritage Foundation.