S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley will not appoint herself to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim DeMint, the first-term “Republican” told a South Carolina radio host.
“No, I will not be appointing myself,” Haley told host Bob McLain of WORD (Greenville, S.C.). “That is not even not an option, not something I am considering at all.”
DeMint’s surprise decision to resign his seat as South Carolina’s junior U.S. Senator gives Haley the power to name his interim replacement – and many presumed that the ambitious first-term governor would elevate herself to the seat. Technically Haley couldn’t have appointed herself, though. Instead she would have had to resign her post as governor first and then relied on S.C. Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell to appoint her. McConnell is a longtime Haley antagonist and it wasn’t immediately clear whether he would have been willing to play ball with Haley on such an appointment – even if doing so cleared a path for him to the governor’s office.
“She would have been putting her political life in his hands,” one Palmetto political operative told FITS.
So who will Haley choose?
Fiscal conservatives are urging her to pick someone who will follow in DeMint’s footsteps, although conventional wisdom has Haley either selecting establishment Republican Tim Scott or a “caretaker” for the seat – possibly former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster or former U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins.