SC Gov. Nikki Haley will not appoint a placeholder for Senate seat

Nikki Haley

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced today on Facebook that she will not appoint a placeholder for the Senate seat left vacant by Jim DeMint, who resigned on Thursday to serve as President of the Heritage Foundation.

As I continue to consider the impending U.S. Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a ‘placeholder’ appointee who would pledge to serve for only two years and not seek election to the seat in 2014. While there are some good arguments in favor of that approach, I believe the better case is against it.

I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office. 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. Most importantly, while I am an avid supporter of 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.

I believe South Carolina will be best served by a U.S. Senator who will work hard day in and day out, and put him or herself before the voters at the soonest possible time. Accordingly, I reject the option of a ‘placeholder.’

CNN’s Peter Hamby also noted that Haley will hold a press conference in Charleston tomorrow at noon, which just happens to be located in Rep. Tim Scott’s district. Scott, who was elected to the House of Representative in 2010, has been frequently mentioned as a potential successor to DeMint. Haley has publicly announced that she “will not take the appointment [herself].”

Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and a South Carolina native, has been making an appeal to Haley to get the nod. Colbert, who plays the role on an uber-conservative on his show, is, of course, just seeking attention. Haley has rejected the idea, according to The Hill.

A survey released this morning by Public Poliy Polling shows Colbert as the top choice by Palmetto State voters. Scott is a distant second, followed closely by Rep. Trey Gowdy and Jenny Sanford, ex-wife of former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

As noted last week, Scott, who has an inspiring personal story, would also add diversity in the Senate by becoming its only African-American member. Moreover, Scott, who has been good on fiscal issues, should pickup where DeMint left off.

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