Sen. Tim Scott launches presidential exploratory committee in final step before declaring 2024 candidacy for GOP nomination

 April 12, 2023

There have been rumors over the past few months that Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) will soon declare himself to be a candidate for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2024.

The conservative South Carolina senator took a big step in that regard this week by preparing to launch a 2024 presidential exploratory committee, the Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday.

That news was first shared by Sen. Scott's home-state newspaper, the South Carolina Post and Courier, which cited two unnamed sources said to have "knowledge of his plans" as claiming that the lone black Republican senator would officially launch the special exploratory committee on Wednesday.

Exploratory committee launched

Those reports proved to be accurate, as Politico reported that Sen. Scott did indeed make his presidential exploratory committee official with the release on Wednesday of a three-minute video that has all of the appearances of a campaign ad and makes his case for why he should be elected as the nation's next president.

The video featured Scott at Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor, the site where the U.S. Civil War first kicked off in 1861, and it was there that Scott lambasted President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party for their divisiveness and radicalism while touting his own optimism guided by faith and common sense conservative solutions.

"Joe Biden and the radical left have chosen a culture of grievance over greatness. They are promoting victimhood instead of personal responsibility. And they are indoctrinating our children to believe we live in an evil country," Scott said. "And all too often, when they get called out for their failures, they weaponize race to divide us, to hold onto their power."

"When I fought back against their liberal agenda, they called me a prop. A token," he continued. "Because I disrupt their narrative. I threaten their control. They know the truth of my life disproves their lies."

"If the radical left gets their way, millions more families will be trapped in failing schools, crime-ridden neighborhoods, and crushing inflation," Scott added at one point. "Not on my watch."

Entering a crowded field

Politico further noted that in taking this step to launch a presidential exploratory committee, Scott has set himself on a course that will inevitably lead to confrontation with some or all of the already declared GOP candidates for 2024, which includes former President Donald Trump, former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley -- who first appointed Scott to fill a vacant Senate seat in 2012 -- as well as tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Also still waiting on the sidelines of the presidential race, but who will presumably enter officially in the coming months, are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, likely among others.

The Associated Press reported that Sen. Scott's presidential exploratory committee, more informally known as "testing the waters," is an optional status that prospective candidates can take as a final step prior to officially declaring the candidacy that allows them to begin fundraising for the purposes of polling and travel.

The Federal Election Commission doesn't necessarily require quarterly reports on expenses and revenue for an exploratory committee unless or until a formal candidacy is announced. There are, however, some limitations on the extent of actual campaigning that can be done with an exploratory committee, which in the past have typically been used as a sort of pre-launch public relations move to garner an initial wave of attention and donations prior to the official start of a campaign.

If and when Sen. Scott does formally launch a 2024 presidential campaign, he will have his work cut out for him to gain ground on the clear frontrunners of Trump and DeSantis, as the RealClearPolitics average of GOP primary polls shows Scott in a distant 10th place with just 0.8 percent support.

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