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South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott files to run for president

<i>Charles Krupa/AP</i><br/>Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
Charles Krupa/AP
Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina

By Shania Shelton, Kate Sullivan, Kit Maher and Kyle Blaine, CNN

(CNN) — Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has filed to run for president in 2024, according to the Federal Election Commission’s website.

The filing comes ahead of a formal announcement that is expected to take place Monday in South Carolina.

Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, launched a presidential exploratory committee in April, emphasizing his evangelical faith, his race and his experience growing up as the son of a single mother. He defined his personal ethos as one of “individual responsibility” and said his approach to politics was guided by the belief that the US is “the land of opportunity and not the land of oppression.”

The senator joins a growing GOP primary field to take on President Joe Biden that already includes former President Donald Trump, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and talk radio host Larry Elder. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to file paperwork declaring his much-anticipated candidacy next week, CNN has reported.

Scott has been testing the presidential waters for months. Since setting off in February on a listening tour focused on “Faith in America,” he’s made frequent visits to several early-voting states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Scott, who easily won reelection last year by 26 points, reported last month that he had nearly $22 million in his Senate campaign account, which he could use for a presidential bid.

He is launching a $6 million ad buy in Iowa and New Hampshire, one of the largest single ad buys in the 2024 race so far, according to a senior campaign official. The initial $5.5 million TV ad buy – including broadcast, cable satellite and radio – will air statewide starting Wednesday and run through the first GOP debate in August. Over the same period, Scott will also launch a seven-figure digital ad campaign.

Scott is also poised to name former chief of staff and longtime aide Jennifer DeCasper as his campaign manager, according to three sources familiar with the plans. She would be the first Black woman to lead a Republican presidential campaign.

A recent Washington Post/ABC News survey showed Scott polling in the single digits in a potential Republican primary, with Trump the clear front-runner for the nomination.

Before entering Congress, Scott served more than a decade on the Charleston County Council and then a term in the South Carolina state House. He won a Charleston-area US House seat in 2010 before moving to the US Senate in 2013 after Haley, then governor of South Carolina, appointed him to succeed GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, who resigned to lead The Heritage Foundation.

During a “Faith in America” town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, earlier this month, Scott, who has expressed confidence he can beat Biden, said the president was “incompetent” and has been “coopted by the radical left in his party.”

“He ran as a uniter, he’s become a divider. You look at his policy positions. You look at the last State of the Union, what he said was that I am going to do what the radical left of my party wants me to do,” Scott said.

While Scott has spent time attacking the Biden administration’s agenda, he appeared to take a jab at Trump in April when he argued, “The seeds of greatness, not the seeds of grievance, is our future.” He’s occasionally spoken out against the former president – for example, after Trump equivocated on racially motivated protesters and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

“I’m not going to defend the indefensible. I’m not here to do that,” Scott said at the time in an interview with Vice News before adding that Trump’s “moral authority” had been “compromised.”

Scott’s national profile grew after he delivered the GOP response to Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress in 2021, which gave him a prominent platform to speak to the country and counter the president’s message.

Scott spent months in Congress trying unsuccessfully to hash out a deal on a policing overhaul with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, prior to her election as Los Angeles mayor.

Earlier this year, Scott spoke on the Senate floor following the brutal police beating and death of Tyre Nichols and called on his colleagues to agree on “simple legislation” regarding police overhaul.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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