U.S. Rep. Tim Scott (R-Charleston) is the choice of national Republicans – and most South Carolina Republicans – to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fiscal conservative Jim DeMint.

But will S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley appoint him?  He’s clearly on her “short list,” although the governor and Scott are not particularly close.   In fact Scott is exceedingly tight with S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell – one of Haley’s political archenemies.  That explains why Haley is aggressively exploring a possible “caretaker” option for the seat – as well as other options.

It also explains why Scott (or at least a group supporting him) is campaigning so aggressively for the seat.

In the event Haley bows to the pressure and appoints Scott, though, it would set off a furious battle to fill his first congressional district seat.

And surprise, surprise … three Lowcountry politicians are already making phone calls in an effort to line up support.

First up we have S.C. Senator Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley), one of the few fiscal conservatives in the South Carolina Senate and the primary sponsor of a long overdue universal parental choice bill.  Then there’s former House Majority Leader Jimmy Merrill (RINO-Daniel Island), a consummate special interest insider who has been in the S.C. General Assembly for the last 12 years.  Finally, there’s S.C. Rep. Chip Limehouse – a top lieutenant of Harrell’s who has been in the S.C. House for the last 18 years.  In addition to being one of Harrell’s “fixers,” Limehouse is also one of the biggest liberals (literally and figuratively) at the S.C. State House.

Those are just the names we’ve heard so far … obviously if Haley appoints Scott others will begin signaling their intentions, too.