When Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., secured his U.S. Senate seat for another two years in last night’s election, he made history.
With his easy victory over Democratic challenger Joyce Dickerson, Scott became the first black senator from the South to be elected since Reconstruction and the first ever to be elected by popular vote, the Daily Mail reports.
Scott was appointed to his seat last year by South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley. He replaced Sen. Jim DeMint, who stepped down to join a conservative think tank.
His win in last night’s election secures for him only the remaining two year’s of DeMint’s term. He will have to run again for a full six-year term in 2016, according to CNN.
Only nine African-Americans have been elected or appointed to serve in the Senate. Only three of those have been from the South.
The previous two, however, were elected by their state senate before races for U.S. Senate were decided by popular vote.
Sen. Hiram Rhodes Revels was elected to serve by the Mississippi State Senate in 1870. He held that seat for just over one year. Sen. Blanche Kelso Bruce was also elected by Mississippi’s upper house. He served a full term, starting in 1875.
Sen. Scott is currently serving with only one other African-American – Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
Scott previously represented South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives. That, coupled with his win last night, earns him another spot in the history books. He is now also the first African-American to be elected to both the House and the Senate.
Tuesday night, Scott posted comments on his Twitter account, reflecting on his remarkable journey.
“In South Carolina, in America, it takes a generation to go from having a grandfather who is picking cotton, to a grandson in Congress,” he wrote. “We are thankful for those trailblazers who came before us and said the status quo was not enough. I stand on the shoulders of giants.”
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