COLUMBIA, S.C.-Gov. Nikki Haley appointed U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of United States Senator Jim DeMint.

Gov. Haley said, “What we looked for in a new senator is a fighter, someone with courage and leadership for our state and nation at a time when we need it most, and someone who understands South Carolina’s issues and knows her people. That’s what we found in Tim Scott. It’s a great honor for me to appoint Tim as our next U.S. Senator.”

“I am deeply honored to accept Governor Nikki Haley’s appointment as United States Senator,” said Congressman Scott. “As much as there is honor in such an occasion, I am even more humbled at the confidence she has shown in me, and at the task that is now before me. Representing the entire state of South Carolina and all of its citizens is a sacred duty. I look to the Lord’s grace to give me the strength and wisdom to fulfill that duty in a way that reflects well on our state and our country.”

Scott, a Republican, will be the only African American in the Senate. He is the fifth Black person to serve in the body since reconstruction and first Black senator from the South since Reconstruction. He will take his post Jan. 3 and must run for election in 2014.

Prior to being elected to Congress in 2010, Scott served on Charleston County Council for 13 years, including four terms as chair and in the S.C. House of Representatives for two years where he was elected chairman of the Freshman Caucus and House Whip. He was the owner of Tim Scott Allstate and partner of Pathway Real Estate Group.

When he was first elected to congress in 2010 he said this of an invitation to join the Congressional Black Caucus: “While I recognize the efforts of the CBC and appreciate their invitation for me to caucus with them, I will not be joining at this time,” Scott. “My campaign was never about race.”

During his time in the House of Representatives , according to one source Scott tied as the 80th most conservative member of the body.