‘Victimhood or Victory’: Sen. Tim Scott Launches 2024 Presidential Campaign, Declaring Himself ‘The Candidate the Far-Left Fears the Most’

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Monday with a speech to cheering supporters in North Charleston, his hometown.


Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Monday with a speech to cheering supporters in North Charleston, his hometown.

  • Though he starts the race far behind in the polls, Scott’s well-funded campaign aims to disrupt a primary dynamic currently centered around two Florida men: former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • Scott, the first black Republican elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction, made an optimistic pitch centered on “freedom and hope and opportunity.”
  • The Senator from South Carolina cast the 2024 election as a choice between “victimhood or victory” and “grievance or greatness” and declared himself “the candidate the far-left fears the most.”
  • Scott is making his Christian faith central to his campaign and plans to heavily target evangelical Christian voters in Iowa. Days before his announcement speech, his campaign placed a sizable $6 million ad buy in Iowa and New Hampshire to introduce himself to voters ahead of the first GOP debate in August.
  • Scott used his remarkable personal story – the grandson of a cotton field worker raised by a single mother who rose “from cotton to Congress” – to make the case that he is “living proof that America is the land of opportunity, not a land of oppression.” He continued, “The truth of my life disproves” the “lies” told by the political left about race in America.
  • A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found Scott was polling at just 1% among GOP primary voters. However, Scott is well-liked by other Senators like Senate Minority Whip John Thune and top GOP donors like Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and has the potential to leverage these networks to mount a serious, well-funded challenge to the GOP frontrunners.
  • Former President Donald Trump wished “Good luck to Senator Tim Scott in entering the Republican Presidential Primary Race. It is rapidly loading up with lots of people, and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable.” Trump praised Scott’s work on opportunity zones, a Scott proposal to increase investment in underserved areas that became law as part of the 2017 Trump tax cuts.
  • After graduating from college, Scott started his own insurance business before entering politics. He served on the Charleston County Council for more than a decade before his election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2008.
  • Scott experienced a meteoric rise from there, serving two years in the state House then two years in Congress before then-Gov. Nikki Haley, now a 2024 presidential rival, appointed him to the Senate to fill the vacancy left open by the resignation of Sen. Jim DeMint.
  • In the Senate, Scott has been a leading Republican voice on pro-life issues, race, and police reform, and spearheaded efforts to make lynching a federal hate crime.
  • “We live in the land where it is absolutely possible for a kid raised in poverty — in a single-parent household, in a small apartment — to one day serve in the People’s House and maybe even the White House,” Scott told his supporters on Monday. “This is the greatest country on God’s green Earth.”


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Scott gave NBC News an exclusive interview after his announcement speech. During the interview, Scott vowed to use the US military to fight the Mexican drug cartels and frequently said “the power of persuasion is necessary for the next president” when asked about running against Trump, an indication he plans to make electability part of his pitch to GOP voters.
  • The New York Times reported Scott enters the raise with a massive $22 million war chest and a team of experienced GOP operatives supporting him. Scott’s entry into the GOP primary field will not be the last, as “Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, are expected to enter the race in the coming days” and Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire and former Vice President Mike Pence are considering presidential bids too.
  • FiveThirtyEight predicted Scott would have an “uphill battle” to win the GOP nomination. Alex Samuels postulated that DeSantis’ ability to enact policy as governor compared to Scott’s status in the Senate minority is why the Florida governor is entering the race with higher “stature” than Scott. Other theories he offered included “Republican voters might also just want a Trumpian-type candidate that’s not Trump himself, or may rebuke the possibility of a Black party leader.”



  • The Wall Street Journal editorial board praised Scott’s “pitch for American revival” and predicted his optimistic message of “freedom and hope and opportunity” would “be formidable in a general election if he can break through the GOP primaries.”
  • National Review’s Noah Rothman observed Scott appears to be staking out a “hawkish lane” in the primary with his promise to “let the world’s greatest military fight” the drug cartels to stop the flow of drugs over the southern border. As Rothman noted, this position “inoculates Scott against the criticism that he is too hawkish for Republican base voters when it comes to another conflict abroad: Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
  • The New York Post highlighted another segment of Scott’s NBC News interview when he was asked about his personal life. “There’s a question America would love for you to answer,” NBC News correspondent Tom Llamas asked, “If you become president you’d be like Grover Cleveland and James Buchanan, you would — you’d go as a bachelor, as a single man. Is there someone in your life – is there time for a woman in your life right?” Scott replied, ““Oh, there’s always – there’s always time for – a great relationship with a wonderful woman. And I thank God that that is happening. But – so I’ll leave it there.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023