(USA TODAY) --South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley reportedly will tap Rep. Tim Scott to replace outgoing GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, according to The New York Times.
Scott'sappointment would be historic: He would be the first African Americanto represent South Carolina in the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction. TheTimes report cites Republican officials as the source.
Haleywill announce her choice to replace DeMint, an influential conservativeand Tea Party leader, Monday at noon at the statehouse in SouthCarolina. She'll be accompanied by Sen. Lindsey Graham, the state'ssenior U.S. senator and a fellow Republican.
Haley reportedly hadbeen considering five candidates: congressmen Scott and Trey Gowdy, bothelected in the Tea Party wave of 2010; former first lady Jenny Sanford,former attorney general Henry McMaster and Catherine Templeton, head ofthe state Department of Health Environmental Control.
DeMint isresigning in January to become president of the Heritage Foundation, aconservative think tank. His replacement will serve until a specialelection is held in 2014.
State law gives Haley sole authority toappoint a replacement for DeMint, who was first elected in 2004 and isleaving before his second term ends in 2016. The appointment holds majorpolitical weight for Haley, who has low approval ratings and is up forre-election in 2014.
The appointment sets in motion a series ofevents, which will make 2014 a busy year for Palmetto State politics.Both Haley and Graham, the state's senior U.S. senator, are on theballot in 2014.