With Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) unexpectedly stepping down to run the conservative Heritage Foundation, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she's looking for a fighter to appoint to the outgoing Tea Party icon's Senate seat. "There is no question that I'm looking for a conservative person to fill those shoes, but we are never going to find someone as conservative and staunch as Jim DeMint," Haley said Wednesday. Although voters apparently have a soft spot for Stephen Colbert, the Comedy Central host is not on Haley's five-person short list. One person who reportedly is: Jenny Sanford, whose cheating ex-husband, Mark, was Haley's predecessor. Jenny Sanford, a former investment banker, has never served in public office, but she's popular in her state. She gave Haley a helpful endorsement in her 2010 race, and the governor has described Sanford as a "confidante." Would she make a good pick for the Senate?
She would be a terrific pick: Jenny Sanford "was a force" in her former husband's successful campaigns, says Mary C. Curtis at The Washington Post, and she "was savvy enough to endorse Haley's candidacy early on." Still, Tea-Party-backed Rep. Tim Scott "has to be the favorite to be appointed to fill DeMint's seat." He'd be the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction, "a potent legislator and symbol." And yet, a female South Carolina senator appointed by an Indian-American woman would make history, too.
"Is Jenny the South Carolina Sanford with a political future?"
Sorry, she isn't qualified: Most people don't even know where Sanford "stands on any of the major issues of the day," says Matt K. Lewis at The Daily Caller. What we know is that she's "intelligent and charismatic," and gracefully handled the scandal over her husband's antics with his Argentine mistress. But being the "smart ex-wife of a disgraced governor" doesn't qualify you for the Senate, and it certainly doesn't put you on an "even plane" with people who have actually been elected to Congress.
"Why is Jenny Sanford being seriously considered for the Senate?"
If nothing else, the symbolism would be fitting: Nobody even knows if Jenny Sanford truly wants to serve in the Senate, says Liz Marlantes at The Christian Science Monitor, although she has said she'd be honored to be asked. We do know her husband wants the seat, and redemption. "Given the number of male politicians who have gone on to rehabilitate their careers after public martial missteps, it would be refreshing should it turn out in this case to be Mrs. Sanford who gets the second act."
"Senator Jenny Sanford? Why it might be a smart pick"