Tavis Smiley talks with Tim Scott and Corey Booker

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (left) jokes with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker during a taping of Tavis Smiley's PBS show. Scott said Thursday that Booker is the Democratic presidential candidate who  poses the biggest threat to President Trump's reelection bid. File/Provided  

 

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott says the Democrat who poses the biggest electoral threat to President Trump's 2020 reelection bid isn't former Vice President Joe Biden. It's Cory Booker.

"He's a smart guy," Scott, R-S.C., said of his Senate colleague who represents New Jersey.

"He's thoughtful most of the time. We agree almost none of the time. And he is very likable all of the time. So I think people typically vote for people they agree with, and they like, not one or the other, but both," Scott said.

Scott offered his 2020 assessment Thursday at the end of a wide-ranging interview at The Post and Courier’s "Pints and Politics" event.

So far, polls show Biden is the front-runner in the field of nearly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates. The trend holds in South Carolina, as well.

According to a recent Monmouth University poll, Biden has the support 39 percent of likely Democratic voters in the Palmetto State. Booker landed at 2 percent — the same as former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.

Scott and Booker are two of the nation's three African American senators. The third is California Sen. Kamala Harris who, like Booker, is also a Democratic presidential candidate.

Despite their party differences, Scott has a history of working with Booker. In 2014, they teamed up to introduce legislation to help create hundreds of thousands of paid apprenticeships in highly skilled trades. The two also recently worked together to promote Scott's "Opportunity Zones" program, and they have also teamed up with Harris and others to make lynching a federal crime.

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When it comes to the 2020 presidential race, Scott said he believes the policies coming from the Democratic Party are nonstarters for most voters. However, Scott conceded, there is something Republicans could learn from Democrats.

"The Democrats do a great job of leading with their heart, and I think that's something that we as a party can do a better job of," he said.

And when asked what Democrats could learn from Republicans, Scott quickly responded: math.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.