Republican Senator Tim Scott inching closer to US presidential bid
US Senator Tim Scot

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) — Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is inching ever closer to a presidential bid in 2024, scheduling his latest swing through early-voting states before returning home afterward to give donors a “political update."

According to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press, Scott will meet with donors to hold what's being advertised as a “Faith in America Summit” next month in Charleston. The schedule notes a reception and dinner on April 14, as well as “breakfast, policy discussions, and political update” the following day.

The event, characterised by a person familiar with Scott's plans as a gathering of “high-level fundraisers and supporters,” directly follows Scott's stops in Iowa and New Hampshire. The schedule was first reported by Politico.

The senator is expected to soon make a decision on whether to launch a 2024 campaign, according to the person familiar with his plans who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Scott, the Senate's sole black Republican, would join others already in the race, including former President Donald Trump, tech investor Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who appointed Scott to the Senate in 2012.

Scott's donor gathering coincides with the filing deadline for first-quarter federal disclosures, providing a window into how Scott and others in the potential field are faring with contributors. After being reelected in November to what he has said would be his final Senate term, Scott ended the year with nearly $22 million on hand, according to federal filings, and that money could be transferred to another federal campaign.

The senator also has built a national network, with Opportunity Matters Fund, a pro-Scott super political action committee, spending more than $20 million to help Republicans in 2022 and reporting $13 million-plus on hand to start 2023. Tech billionaire Larry Ellison has donated at least $30 million to the organisation since 2021, according to federal filings.

With “faith in America" emerging as a theme for his anticipated presidential bid, Scott has been aiming to articulate a vision that sets him apart from some possible GOP rivals who have focused more on railing against cultural divides.

“I see 330 million Americans getting back to celebrating our shared blessings again, tolerating our differences again, and having each other’s backs again,” he said in a speech to about 100 students and Republicans last month in Iowa. "We need new leaders who will lift us up, not tear us down.”

Last weekend, he joined other Republicans, including Haley and Ramaswamy, on stage at a conservative forum in North Charleston, where there was much focus on arguing against a “woke ideology” against which many in the party have railed.

“The radical left is trying to get people hooked on victimhood,” Scott said, even adding that, according to Democrats, “if you’re white you must be an oppressor. If you’re black or brown, you are the victim.”

Chad Walldorf, a longtime Scott supporter and donor, said Wednesday that he would attend the Charleston gathering next month and plans to support him in 2024, if he does run.

“I look forward to hearing Tim’s thoughts on the political landscape and learn more about what he’s thinking in terms of a potential presidential run," Walldorf said.

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