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Black SC Republican poised to go to Congress

Jun 22, 2010 10:01:00 PM - thestate.com
Voters in South Carolina nominated a black Republican lawmaker for an open congressional seat Tuesday, rejecting a legendary political name and adding diversity to the national party.

State Rep. Tim Scott defeated Paul Thurmond, an attorney who is son of the one-time segregationist U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond. Scott, who won the runoff with 69 percent of the vote, is now poised to become the nation's first black GOP congressman since 2003.

Scott, 44, owns an insurance business and became the first black Republican in the South Carolina Legislature in more than a century when elected two years ago. Before that, he served 13 years on Charleston County Council and was elected chairman four times.

He's now the favorite in the coastal 1st District, which has elected a Republican congressman for three decades. He would become the first black Republican congressman since Oklahoma's J.C. Watts retired in 2003.

Scott grew up in poverty in North Charleston, his parents divorcing when he was 7. His mother, Frances, worked 16 hours a day raising Scott and a brother and Scott regularly introduce her at campaign events.