Tim Scott becomes first black senator in US Deep South since Civil War – and he's a Republican

Tim Scott will serve the last two years of his predecessor Jim DeMint's term

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The Independent US

A black senator has been elected in a state in America's Deep South for the first time in 200 years.

South Carolina voters elected Republican candidate Tim Scott, 49, who is the first black person to serve since 1865 for a southern state and the fifth African-American to ever serve in the Senate.

He succeeds Jim DeMint, who resigned in 2012, and will finish the final two years of his predecessor's six-year term while the House of Representatives takes an unexpected shift to the right.

The mid-term elections have spelled another nail in the coffin for the Obama administration after the Republicans took hold of 52 seats in total, leaving the Democrats with 43.

Scott said that his election was a history-changer and an example for ambitious black Americans as his own grandfather was employed as a young cotton-picker in the US.

 

He said last night after his election: "To every kid growing up in poverty who thinks fitting in means dumbing down, the answer is no.

"To every single mom who struggles to makes the ends meet who wonders if her efforts are in vain, they are not."

"In America — no in South Carolina — one lifetime, that's all it takes. One lifetime to go from what my grandfather was doing, picking cotton as a kid, to having a grandson in Congress and now the U.S. Senate," he added.

Scott has been a senator since January last year after DeMint's departure, when he was appointed by the state’s governor Nikki Haley, and has been favourite to win.

He will have competition for his seat in 2016 when he is able to run for a full term.

Congress takes power in January and the Republicans will be in charge of both chambers for the first time since elections in 2006.

Republican Lindsey Graham also won a seat for South Carolina and will serve his third term.

Cory Booker, Democrat for New Jersey, is the only other currently sitting black senator since October last year.

Barack Obama was the fifth African-American senator in history from 2005 for Illinois until his rise to President of the US after going head-to-head with Republican John McCain in 2008.

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