Tim Scott weighs 2024 race, selling unity to party eager to fight

Ms. Haley, however, is a problem for Mr. Scott. She declared her candidacy for president on Tuesday, sending a similar message that it’s time to switch parties. As governor, Ms. Haley appointed Mr. Scott to the Senate in 2013, and they remain linked.

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Like Mr. Scott, Ms. Haley presents herself as an outsider in her white-dominated party, the child of Indian immigrants who sees tolerance in America, not bigotry, and campaigns with a smile, not a scowl.

But Mr. Scott, 57, and Ms. Haley, 51, may be fishing in the same pond for Republican voters who want a less confrontational standard bearer.

“They’re both very nice people,” said Maureen McGuinness, a pensioner who attended Ms Haley’s rally on Wednesday. “I would vote for one or the other.” Pressed to choose, she could not.

Katon Dawson, former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and spokesperson for Ms Haley, conceded the problem. He said Ms. Haley and Mr. Scott would not attack each other; they are too close. She has run tougher races than him, Mr. Dawson said, and is more tested as a politician, governor and foreign policy figure.

But, Mr. Dawson added, “it will cause some confusion” with voters.

Ms. Haley may have a stronger resume, but Mr. Scott’s unrelenting affability has a power of its own. On Thursday night, he worked the room with easy charm, reaching out to the 10-year-old black girl who had given him a lengthy introduction and saying, “I’m Tim Scott.”

He left the podium to discuss the biblical story of Joseph with a white Citadel cadet and member of the Young Republicans, who said earlier on the show that when he reflected on black history, he recalled how Joseph had forgiven the brothers who had sold him into bondage.


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