The Washington Times - December 11, 2012, 04:39PM

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has a short list of five finalists to replace the resigning Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, the state’s largest newspaper reported Tuesday.

U.S. Reps. Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former first lady Jenny Sanford and Catherine Templeton, director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, are on the list, an unnamed source “close to the governor” told The State newspaper.


Mr. Scott, who won a second-term to the House last month and will be the only black Republican in new Congress, is speculated to be the front-runner to fill the remaining two years of Mr. DeMint’s term.

The most curious name on the list is Mrs. Sanford, who had been married to then-Gov. Mark Sanford. His eight-year term ended in 2011 but was marred by a high-profile and bizarre extra-marital affair with an Argentinian woman. The Sanfords divorced after the affair become public.

Absent from the list is U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who had been mentioned as a possible replacement.

Mr. DeMint announced last week he will resign from office next month to run the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Mrs. Haley, a Republican, said Monday she won’t appoint a “placeholder” for Mr. DeMint, saying she wants her pick to be someone who would consider seeking re-election to the seat in 2014.

The Palmetto State’s other Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, told reporters Tuesday anyone on the list would make a fine senator.

“Whoever the governor picks is fine with me,” he said.