CNN: Haley finalizes short list to replace DeMint - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

CNN: Haley finalizes short list to replace DeMint

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Gov. Nikki Haley has the sole power to replace Sen. Jim DeMint. Gov. Nikki Haley has the sole power to replace Sen. Jim DeMint.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It appears Governor Nikki Haley has narrowed down her choices to replace Sen. Jim DeMint after he abandons his seat at the end of the year, according to CNN.

Rumors have been circulating since DeMint announced last week that he would resign from the Senate effective Dec. 31 to head up the Heritage Foundation.

Haley has the sole power to appoint a new senator to fill the vacancy. That person will be allowed to run for the seat in a special election in 2014, then run for a full term in 2016.

According to CNN's Peter Hamby, a Republican close to the governor says the remaining list of contenders to become South Carolina's junior senator is down to five.

The list, according to Hamby, includes Rep. Tim Scott, Henry McMaster, Rep. Trey Gowdy, Jenny Sanford and Catherine Templeton.

The governor's spokesperson would not comment on the report. "As has always been our policy, we do not comment on any aspect of an appointment process until the appointment is finalized," wrote Rob Godfrey in an email Tuesday afternoon.

A source close to DeMint last week said the senator wants Scott to be his hand-picked replacement.

Scott is an African-American former state legislator who was elected to Congress as the state's 1st district representative in 2010. DeMint campaigned heavily for Scott during that election.

Scott released a statement shortly after DeMint's resignation to thank the senator for the "tremendous work he has done on behalf of South Carolina and the nation."

"Looking forward, Governor Haley will now appoint a new Senator, and I know she will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation," said Scott.

Former state Attorney General Henry McMaster could also be called up to Washington, according to state politicos.

McMaster ran for governor in 2010, but lost to Haley in the primary. After the primary, McMaster became one of Haley's surrogates and raised money for her. McMaster is also the former chairman of the state Republican Party.

Or, Haley could opt to get herself appointed. Believe it or not, it has happened before in the Palmetto State. Former South Carolina Gov. Donald Russell resigned from the governorship and had new Gov. Robert McNair appoint him to Sen. Olin Johnston's seat in 1965 after Johnston's death.

However, Haley has said she has no plans to become the next senator.

"People have called in quite a bit, and they have been very kind, but, no, I will not be appointing myself," said Haley. "That's not even an option and not something that I'm considering at all."

"I think that it is very important that we stick with somebody who is conservative and strong and is a fighter," said Haley. "We're actually very open-minded on this."

Haley said she hopes to make a timely decision. "My goal is not to have it drag out," said the governor.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • WECT News Poll

  • Who do you think should replace Sen. DeMint?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Rep. Trey Gowdy
    5%
    25 votes
    Henry McMaster
    11%
    56 votes
    Jenny Sanford
    18%
    86 votes
    Rep. Tim Scott
    36%
    174 votes
    Catherine Templeton
    2%
    12 votes
    None of the above
    28%
    135 votes
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