Sen. Tim Scott steps into the 2024 GOP presidential primary

Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina filed the documents to run in the 2024 presidential campaign on Friday morning, formalizing a campaign that has been in the works for months.

Scott faces a difficult Republican presidential nomination campaign against fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump.

Despite criminal investigations into hoarding public records and his efforts to thwart the 2020 presidential election, Trump remains an impressive Republican primary candidate with a wide lead in many polls.

Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, is less well known than Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another Republican who laid the groundwork for a presidential campaign.

This presidential candidacy comes as no surprise. Last year Scott published a book called “America, a redemption story“Meets the informal requirement that all candidates for national office must be published authors.

As a senator, Scott became the leading Republican voice on police reform after the 2020 killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests against police brutality as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Republican leaders have tasked Scott with negotiating a compromise with Democrats on higher standards of law enforcement. The two sides failed to reach an agreement, however, as Scott rejected Democrat calls to increase police accountability through reform of “qualified immunity,” the legal doctrine that prevents government employees from having to pay monetary damages for wrongdoing . (It’s unclear how many other Republicans would have been willing to reform qualified immunity even if Scott had chosen to do so.)

Senator Tim Scott (RS.C.) was the leading Republican voice on police reform.
Senator Tim Scott (RS.C.) was the leading Republican voice on police reform.

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Following the high-profile police killing of Tire Nichols earlier this year, Scott said the Democrats-preferred bill, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, remains a “non-starter.”

“I’ve been working on common solutions that actually have a chance of passing,” Scott said on Twitter in February. “Solutions to increase funding and training to ensure only the best carry the badge. Solutions that would have made a difference in places like Memphis and Kenosha.”

It is striking that, despite the apparent consensus that police departments across the country could benefit from higher standards, lawmakers have failed to find even a modest compromise – unlike bipartisan negotiators who struck an agreement on gun reform last year after a sensational mass shooting scored .

Some lawmakers make up for the meager record of legislative success with rhetorical bombast, but not Scott, who avoids inflammatory language and maintains a mild demeanor, often refusing to speak to reporters in the Capitol corridors.

“I’m not really into theatre,” Scott said in a 2020 Senate speech in which he bemoaned the Democrats’ lack of support for his police reform proposals. “I don’t run towards microphones.”

Scott gave one reason for his relatively calm demeanor: “Why say what other people say?”

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