Rep. Tim Scott becomes Sen. Tim Scott - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Rep. Tim Scott becomes Sen. Tim Scott

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Rep. Tim Scott was sworn in to the Senate just after noon on Thursday as South Carolina's newest junior Senator. 

Scott, 47, took the oath of office from Vice President Joe Biden just after noon in the Senate chambers inside the United States Capitol building.

He was appointed to the seat by Gov. Nikki Haley.

The seat's previous holder, Jim DeMint resigned back in December. DeMint left the Senate, effective Dec. 31, to become the president of the Heritage Foundation.

The Lowcountry Republican was said to be DeMint's personal preference to replace him in the upper chamber of Congress.

"Governor Haley has made a great choice for South Carolina and the nation," said DeMint in an emailed statement. "Tim Scott is a principled leader and will make an outstanding senator for the people of the South Carolina and an important voice for conservatives across the nation."

Scott is the Senate's only serving African-American.

"This is about economics, not race," said Scott in an interview last month. "And so the more I focus on the issues, the more I focus on our values the easier it is to understand where we have to go. Now the path forward, forget the racial path forward, the path forward is a difficult path for our nation. And so we have to grapple with some very important issues and come to some very simple solutions and then move forward on those issues."

He was previously a congressman from the state's 1st District. Scott's departure from the House leaves a wide open contest for that seat. Filing opens Jan. 18 with party primaries March 19 and the general election scheduled for May 7.

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