Tim Scott is making history by running away from it





If Tim Scott, the Republican nominee in South Carolina's first congressional district, wins election in November, he will become the first African-American Republican to be elected to Congress from the former Confederacy since Reconstruction....

...The state Republican Party has had a complicated history with race in recent years. Lee Atwater—the Republican strategist accused of pandering to racial fears with a commercial for George H.W. Bush's 1988 campaign focusing on Willie Horton, an African-American convict who committed murder while on furlough under Democratic candidate Mike Dukakis's policy in Massachusetts—cut his teeth in South Carolina's GOP....

Last year, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shocked official Washington by shouting "You lie!" at President Obama during an address to a joint session of Congress, the first such address to ever be delivered by an African-American president. Some pundits suggested that Wilson's animosity toward Obama might have something to do with the fact that Wilson had worked for former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).

Scott, for his part, has not appeared to resent Thurmond's infamous past: in 1996 he was co-chair of Thurmond's final reelection campaign. In a development laden with symbolism, it was Thurmond's son Paul whom Scott defeated in a runoff last Tuesday. "Paul Thurmond wasn't even necessarily the candidate of the Thurmond wing of the party," jokes Ed Kilgore, managing editor of The Democratic Strategist and a South Carolina native....

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