Sen. Tim Scott announced Wednesday that he is launching a presidential exploratory committee for the 2024 election. If Scott enters the race, he faces a growing pool of popular candidates who are gunning for the GOP nomination in the primaries.

“I will never back down in defense of the conservative values that make America exceptional. And that’s why I’m announcing my exploratory committee for president of the United States,” Scott said in a video.

The date of his announcement coincides with the beginning of the Civil War when Confederate troops fired the first shots in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor, as Scott pointed out in the video.

“Today, our country is once again being tested, once again our divisions run deep and the threat to our future is real,” he said. “Joe Biden and the radical left have chosen a culture of grievance over greatness.”

Tim Scott and his faith

Scott is in the middle of his “Faith in America” listening tour, which kicked off in South Carolina during Black History Month in February. Early Republican primary states Iowa and New Hampshire are next on the itinerary.

The South Carolina senator has been highlighting the importance of faith through his personal life story in his listening tour, in his announcement video and in his recent interview with Fox News.

“When you start in a single-parent household, mired in poverty, you watch your mother work 16-hour days, you question whether or not this will work for you,” he said in his appearance on “Fox and Friends.” “I thank God almighty that I had mentors and a mother who believed that prayer was the key and faith unlocks those doors.”

Sen. Tim Scott: The balm of service

“I want to share that message, I want to share the gospel truth that faith in America means, faith in each other, faith in God, and faith in our future,” he said.

Scott has embraced faith since the start of his political career. In 1997, during his initial years on Charleston’s city council, he proposed that the Ten Commandments be displayed in the chambers to remind residents of moral absolutes.

How does Tim Scott fare against other GOP candidates for 2024?

After serving as a South Carolina state representative for one term and as a U.S. House representative for two terms, Scott was appointed to the Senate by Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor who is also running for president in 2024.

Scott, who is the first and only Black U.S. senator hailing from South Carolina, had declined to endorse Haley when she launched her campaign in February this year, prompting speculation over his own intention to run, according to The Post and Courier.

After winning reelection to the Senate, Scott closed his campaign account with over $21 million, according to Open Secrets. While this large sum will help Scott in the presidential election, he is competing for the same donors as Haley in the southern state they’re both based in, as The New York Times reported.

A Winthrop poll found that 41% of South Carolina’s registered Republican voters approved of former President Donald Trump, who was the first to announce his 2024 campaign, as the GOP candidate. Meanwhile, Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has yet to announce his intentions about running, came in second place with the support of 20% and 18% respectively. Scott garnered 7% of the support.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have also announced their bid for president in 2024. Other speculated candidates include former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.

What are Tim Scott’s policy stances?

The senator was put in the national spotlight in 2021 after he was chosen to give the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address.

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“Hear me clearly,” Scott said during his speech, according to USA Today. “America is not a racist country.” It’s worth noting that in 2015, he supported the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina statehouse.

Scott has generally voted in favor of anti-abortion legislation, like the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which requires lifesaving medical care for babies who survive an abortion.

He also supports school choice: “From the rural poor to the inner cities, test scores are down even lower than they were pre-COVID. However, when parents have the choice to send their child to a school that best fit their needs, their kids have a chance,” Scott said in January when introducing the National School Choice Week Resolution.

Scott has also fully supported providing increased military aid to Ukraine — “If we want to help Ukraine, U.S. leadership must be proactive, not reactive,” he said on Twitter — as well as retaining a military presence in Afghanistan.

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