South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will be returning to Congress next year as a rising star, retaining his status as the Senate’s only African-American Republican.
The 51-year-old Scott, who was appointed to the seat in late 2012, defeated Democrat Thomas Dixon and two minor party candidates to win reelection to his first full six-year term. The Associated Press projected Scott’s victory shortly after the polls closed Tuesday night.
The outcome was never in doubt even before all the votes were counted, as the 63-year-old Dixon, a pastor and political novice from North Charleston, struggled to gain traction and funding. Scott reported raising more than $12 million during the 2016 election cycle, while Dixon raised less than $37,000.
Scott’s victory means he will continue to accrue seniority on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, which handles key tax and trade legislation. He also serves on committees responsible for banking, housing and health issues, among others.
“His unique life story offers a fresh perspective as to how conservative values can unleash opportunity for all Americans,” his website says.
Raised in a single-parent household, Scott started out in business as the owner of an insurance franchise and partner in a real-estate company. He got his political start in 1995 on the Charleston County Council, then was elected in 2008 to the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 2010, Scott was elected to the U.S. House.