South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced Monday that Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will replace outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in Congress.
"This man loves South Carolina," Haley said during a press conference at the state capitol. "It was with that that I knew that he was the right person. I have no doubt that he will fly through 2014."
Both Scott and DeMint appeared with Haley at the news conference, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and the rest of the state's Republican congressional delegation.
Scott, who has represented South Carolina's 1st congressional district since 2011, will become the first black Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate since Edward Brooke (R-Mass.) left his seat in 1979. He will also be the state's first African American senator since the 19th century, as well as the only African American in the Senate.
"South Carolina Republicans are thrilled with Governor Haley’s historic selection of Rep. Scott," Chad Connelly, the state's GOP chairman, said in a statement. "Rep. Scott embodies our American dream. He is a man of faith, a small businessman, and a consistent voice for common sense reforms. We look forward to Rep. Scott carrying Senator Jim DeMint’s torch of conservative leadership."
Earlier this month, DeMint announced that he would retire from Congress in January in order to take over as president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC.
"In this decision and process we went through, there is no replacing Jim DeMint," Haley said ahead of introducing Scott.
Scott will remain in the seat until a special election is held in 2014.
Strongly backed by Tea Party groups, Scott has made a name for himself in conservative circles through his at times inflammatory rhetoric. In 2011, Scott suggested that President Obama could be impeached if he invoked the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling. He also drew ire for proposing to cut food stamp assistance for families where one member was participating in a labor strike.