Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina announced Monday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
In a roughly 40-minute speech, Scott, the Senate’s lone Black Republican, emphasized his personal background, his family and the “miracle of America.” Scott declared “I am America” as he blasted the “radical left” for “pushing us into a culture of grievances instead of a culture of greatness.” Criticizing the “liberal lie that our country is evil,” he said he is the “candidate the far left fears the most.”
While he never mentioned the Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, Scott took aim at President Biden, whom he called “weak,” and what he described as a “nation in retreat.”
“My mom’s work ethic taught me there is dignity in all work. It’s why I know if you are able-bodied, you work! Period,” he said to cheers from the crowd at his alma mater, Charleston Southern University. “My momma said we could be victims or victors — and she chose victorious. But under President Biden, our nation is retreating away from work and dignity.”
He kicked off his campaign in his hometown of North Charleston, joined by South Dakota’s longtime senator, Minority Whip John Thune, who is number two in the Republican Senate leadership. Thune has long been opposed to former President Donald Trump, saying in December 2020 that any attempt to overturn the election results in the Senate would go down like a “shot dog.”
Thune said his Senate colleague was “the real deal” among the 2024 field. “He came in with boundless hope,” Thune said before leading the crowd in prayer. “I think our country needs to be inspired again,” he said.
Senior Scott campaign advisers tell CBS News that Scott will hope to carve out a space in a presidential cycle that could be one of the most vicious in years.
Scott filed his statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.
He launched an exploratory committee in April and plans to soon hit the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire. According to an adviser, his campaign has bought $5.5 million in television ads that will air statewide in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. The ads will run through the first GOP presidential debate, in a buy that includes broadcast TV, cable, satellite and radio.
Scott’s campaign will also launch what his adviser said was a substantial seven-figure digital ad campaign during that period. This is the largest candidate ad buy of the 2024 GOP primary campaign to date. Scott enters the race with $22 million cash on hand.
The formalization of his candidacy allowed his team to put his campaign in motion before Monday’s announcement, including properly filing the new ads buys it announced Friday.
Scott, who was the first Black senator elected from the South since Reconstruction, is positioning himself as the optimistic candidate in the 2024 Republican field, in contrast with Trump, the early front runner. Senior campaign officials believe his optimistic tone could help carve out a lane for Scott to cut through attention paid to Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“I see a future where common sense has rebuilt common ground,” Scott said in a speech in February at Drake University in Des Moines, according to the Des Moines Register. “Where we’ve created real unity, not by compromising away our conservatism, but by winning converts. Where our movement can once again carry 49 states and the popular vote.”
Senior Scott campaign officials were confident that the financial advantage Scott has, and his fundraising ability, will keep the campaign running ads throughout the race. They note the cheaper rates campaigns get for advertisement buys, compared to super PACs.
Asked about the policy differences between Scott and Trump, the officials said they would consistently discuss policies and ideas popular with the Republican base, and connect Scott’s life experiences to them.
Caitlin Huey-Burns contributed to this report.
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