President Donald Trump has nominated Columbia lawyer Sherri Lydon to be the next U.S. attorney for South Carolina.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Lydon would become the first female U.S. attorney in the state's history to successfully navigate the White House selection process.

The state's current U.S. attorney, Beth Drake, a career prosecutor, has been in the seat on an interim basis since January 2017 after a previous appointee, Obama administration-designee Bill Nettles, stepped down.

Lydon is the founder of the Lydon Law Firm, which specializes in white-collar criminal defense and public corruption and health care fraud cases.

A call to her law office was not immediately returned.

The pick drew immediate praise from Charleston's 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.

"First, and foremost, Sherri Lydon will be an excellent leader for the United States Attorney’s Office and, without a doubt, will build a solid relationship with law enforcement and state prosecutors," she said in a media statement.

"And second, while it is much, much more important to have the right, well-qualified person in any position, we are long overdue to have a woman as the United States attorney (without the qualifiers of “interim” and “acting”). Sherri has paid her dues. She earned this."

Lydon began her legal career at Nexsen Pruet Jacobs and Pollard. She previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina.

As a federal prosecutor, she worked on public corruption, drug and fraud cases. One of her cases included the Operation Lost Trust probe of Statehouse corruption in the early 1990s.

Her former boss, one-time U.S. Attorney Bart Daniel, also praised the pick.

"No U.S. attorney nominee has been as well prepared and experienced as Sherri to become U.S. Attorney," he said. "She has vast civil and criminal experience. Most important, she has always demonstrated excellent judgment."

Lydon earned a bachelor's degree from Clemson University and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

In 2014, she was appointed to the state Ethics Commission by then-Gov. Nikki Haley. 

The nomination announced Tuesday was described as the 12th wave of U.S. attorney announcements to come from the White House.

But it also comes more than a year after Trump took office, making it part of the general lag in filling key administration jobs.

Other names in the mix for the job included state Rep. Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, and S.C. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling.

It is not clear how soon her screening will begin, but she is likely to have strong support from both of South Carolina's Republican U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.

Scott issued a statement late Tuesday saying he was proud to recommend that Trump nominate Lydon.

"I hope to see her nomination swiftly confirmed by the Senate,” he said.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.