Outgoing U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint said Friday he is not pressuring Gov. Nikki Haley “in any way” regarding who she appoints to replace him, but he hopes she looks to one of the state’s current congressmen.
DeMint also told WSC-FM’s Kelly Golden that he expected Haley would announce her choice later in the day, though that didn’t happen.
After DeMint made his decision last week to retire from the Senate next month to lead the nonprofit Heritage Foundation, numerous reports have said DeMint wanted to see U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., to replace him, though DeMint and his staff have denied that.
DeMint said Friday he trusts Haley to make the pick, calling her “a movement conservative.”
DeMint said he called Haley to tell her he was resigning, adding, “I’ve not called her since, and I’m not pressuring her in any way. ... I’m convinced we share the same philosophy. We have a great congressional delegation, and I hope she looks at those folks.”
U.S. Reps. Scott and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine Templeton and former S.C. first lady Jenny Sanford are on Haley’s short list, a source said this week.
She has said she won’t drag out the process of vetting them and making her choice.
DeMint, whose term was set to expire in 2016, said he doesn’t think Washington is going to accomplish anything significant in that time. “The only thing we can agree on is spending more money,” he said.
He said Republicans have to draw a line in the sand at some point, “even though it’s going to be very unpleasant.” As far as the looming fiscal cliff, he said, “I just hope (House Speaker) John Boehner doesn’t make a terrible deal.”
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.