Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) sent supporters an email Tuesday night promising "a major announcement" Wednesday morning on Fox News — and that announcement is that he's forming a presidential exploratory committee, The Post and Courier and other news organizations report. Scott will unveil his plan from Iowa, then travel to New Hampshire, and return to South Carolina in time for a donor retreat this weekend.
Forming an exploratory committee, "something of a soft launch for an all-but-certain Scott presidential campaign," will allow the senator to raise money for a future presidential campaign, spend money on polling and travel to key primary states, and raise his national profile, The Post and Courier reports. Scott already has roughly $21.8 million on hand in his Senate campaign account
Scott, 57, has been hinting at a presidential campaign for months, though some of his "fellow GOP senators have questioned whether he can carve out a lane within the pack," Politico reports. He would join a GOP primary field that already includes fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley — who appointed Scott to his Senate seat when she was governor — former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, conservative tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former President Donald Trump. Florida Gov Ron DeSantis (R) and former Vice President Mike Pence are also expected to join the race.
"In a potential 2024 contest, Scott's first — and perhaps greatest — challenge will be testing if Republican primary voters want the optimistic vision Scott is selling over the us-versus-them rhetoric coming from repeat favorite Donald Trump," The Post and Courier reports — though his Tuesday night email says Scott has "been thinking about the left's plan to ruin America." Scott's "biography, his oratorical skills, and his prominence as the top-ranking Black Republican in Congress have him on many Republican short lists to serve as a potential vice president," The New York Times reports, adding that Scott's advisers "have rebuffed that as the goal.