U.S. Sen. Tim Scott shakes hands with S.C. GOP Chairman Drew McKissick after filling to run in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary. (Photos by Ariel Meriwether/Carolina News and Reporter)

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott filed to be on the South Carolina presidential primary ballot on Monday.

Scott spoke at Doc’s Barbeque in Columbia. He announced his run for presidency in Charleston, South Carolina, in May 2023.

Scott said the country needs new leadership. He thanked the crowd for their continued prayer, support and participation in campaign events. 

It just warms my heart, gives me energy,” said Scott, who has been in the Senate since 2013. “I will say without any question, our job is to make sure the American dream is alive and well for the next generation.”

The three things needed to protect America, Scott said, are closing the country’s Southern border, standing toe-to-toe with China and “backing the blue (police).”

“It is not the strength of presidency, it is the weakness of President Biden that is our problem,” Scott said. 

Scott asked people to pray for peace in Israel amid the recent violence in the Gaza Strip.

In an opinion piece published Saturday on The Hill political website, Scott wrote that the Biden Administration should cut off money it gives to the United Nations for its “flawed Palestinian aid program.” 

The last thing the Republican Party needs is a Joe Biden wing on foreign policy,” he said in the opinion piece.

Former S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais was at the event. He said he sees Scott as a supporter of educational programs.

“We have a system now that funds the operation of school systems,” Zais said. “What we need is a system that funds the education of school students. Tim Scott understands that difference and has been a big proponent of supporting parents to oversee an education that works for their child.”

Candidate for Cayce mayor, Abbott Tre Bray, said Scott is a representative of the people. 

“To me, at the end of the day, it’s about having a good person,” Bray said. “He’s just somebody that’s a good person. And that’s what you need at the end of the day, is leaders who are good people.”

Scott’s filing follows former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s filing to be on New Hampshire’s Republican primary ballot on Friday.

“I like Nikki. I’ve worked with her before,” Zais said. “But right now, Tim’s my guy.”

Bray thinks both Scott and Haley have good policies but says Scott is less political.

“I’m not against Nikki Haley,” Bray said. “You see Nikki’s moves and maybe that will come to hurt her or maybe not. But Tim Scott is there, truly, for the people.”

Candidates for the S.C. primary must have campaign contributions from at least 70,000 unique donors and register at least 4% in either of two national polls or one national poll and one early-voting state poll, according to NBC News. NBC will host the next debate Nov. 8.

Primary poll leader former President Donald Trump skipped the first two GOP debates. He’s expected to skip the next as well.

Scott has mostly defended Trump. But earlier, he criticized him twice in a high-profile fashion, first when Trump was supportive of white supremacists as they rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, and later when Trump said four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to the countries they came from.

The S.C. Republican Primary is Feb. 24, 2024.

Carolina News and Reporter’s Jack Wolfe contributed to this report.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott holds up a young child of a supporter.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott told supporters three things are needed to protect America.

Supporters greet U.S. Sen. Tim Scott as he arrived at Doc’s Barbeque.


Sophia Laico

Sophia Laico

Laico is a senior journalism major at the University of South Carolina. She was an intern this past summer at radio station New Jersey 101.5, where she wrote for the website, wrote scripts and appeared on air. During a behind-the-scenes tour of Newsmax TV station in New York City, she participated in control room operations for a daily news segment.

Ariel Meriwether

Ariel Meriwether

Meriwether is a multi-media journalism student at the University of South Carolina. She enjoys covering arts and culture. She hopes to use her degree to create organic social content and tell personal stories. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.