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WHEN SHOULD SOUTH CAROLINA’S NEW SENATOR BE SWORN IN?

U.S. Rep. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) is about to become U.S. Sen. Tim Scott … but when?

That could be a key question for the Palmetto State, as the timing of Scott’s ascension to the United States Senate is raising a host of important questions.  According to multiple mainstream media reports, Scott will not take office until January 3, 2013.  Why not?  Because Jim DeMint – the man Scott is replacing – isn’t stepping down until that date.

Should he move aside earlier, though?  Some say “yes,” arguing that DeMint could empower Scott with additional seniority if he resigns his post prior to the beginning of the 113th session of the U.S. Congress.

In addition to Scott there are twelve incoming United States Senators scheduled to take office on January 3, 2013.  According to some, Scott would be lumped in with this incoming class of Senators in terms of seniority if DeMint stays in his seat until then.

“Now that the Governor has made her selection, Senator DeMint should formally resign from the Senate, effective upon the formal appointment and seating of his successor,” coastal South Carolina politico James G. Wiles contends, arguing that such a move “will give Senator Scott the seniority of a second-term U.S. Senator, rather than a freshman.”

Is that the case, though?  Sources close to DeMint say they explored all of the options available in terms of timing his resignation from the Senate.

“There is no way to game Senate rules to give him higher seniority,” one source said, adding that Scott “will be in the middle of the pack for this freshmen Senate class based on his House service.”

Frankly, we view “seniority” in Washington, D.C. as synonymous with pork barrel spending – and if there’s one thing the recent federal “stimulus” has proven, it’s that free money from our nation’s capital not only isn’t free, but it doesn’t do jack squat to turn a state’s economy around.

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