Republican senators are rallying around the possibility that their colleague Tim Scott will launch a bid for the presidency in 2024, with one lawmaker saying he would “advise him to go for it,” according to a report on Monday.
The South Carolinian, who is coming off a 25-point reelection win in last month’s midterms, has seen his national profile rise this year as he traveled the country campaigning for GOP candidates.
Scott, 57, remains coy about seeking the White House in two years, declining to talk to Politico about the topic and directing questions to his staff.
But his fellow Republicans in the chamber haven’t been shy about singing his praises.
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa told the outlet she was “very excited” about a potential Scott run, while Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he would “advise him to go for it,” and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said it “doesn’t get any better than Tim Scott.”
Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, also received raves from his fellow South Carolinian Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump.
Graham told Politico that he wanted to see “what Tim does” before making any endorsements in a possible Republican primary.
However, Graham added that Scott would “bring something to the table on day one” and has “one of the most compelling stories of any Republican out there.”
According to Politico, Scott is respected by top Republican leaders like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and has never put himself at odds with Trump, even when Scott has publicly criticized the former president.
Scott also gives Republicans an opportunity to tout the party’s diversity as it seeks to attract minority voters and candidates.
The 2024 election is already shaping up to be a crowded affair.
Trump, 76, has already thrown his hat into the ring, but others — including former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — are expected to run.
The former president, who announced his bid Nov. 15, has seen his campaign get off to a rocky start amid controversies over hosting a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes — followed by his call to rip up the Constitution and reinstate him as president over purported voter fraud.
John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican told Politico that the negative headlines around Trump may encourage even more GOPers to consider a run for president.
“Everybody’s probably assessing it, trying to determine how much impact some of that has on [Trump’s] viability. But I don’t think there’s any question that it’s probably at least caused some people to consider, or reconsider, or perhaps embolden some, so we’ll see,” Thune said.
Despite the potential for a crowded Republican primary, Scott’s colleagues think he should test the waters.
Scott “is increasing in national prominence and [within] the party,” said Thom Tillis of North Carolina. “I want to see what the first quarter [of 2023] shapes up to be in terms of people. Anyone who is serious about it is probably going to make a decision by the end of April. … Having somebody like Tim in the mix is positive for Republicans.”