State Rep. Norman says he wants DeMint’s seat

dworthington@heraldonline.comDecember 8, 2012 

State Rep. Ralph Norman of Rock Hill said he wants to be added to the list of possible replacements for U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.

The York County Republican said Saturday he has contacted Gov. Nikki Haley’s staff and asked that his name be put on the list the governor considers.

“I want to be in the mix,” Norman said.

DeMint announced last week that he is stepping down to become the president of the Heritage Foundation.

Haley has said she would not arrange to have herself appointed to replace DeMint.

The unofficial list of candidates to replace DeMint, according to political observers, includes U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land; U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-Charleston; U.S. Rep Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg; state Attorney General Henry McMaster; and David Wilkins, former S.C. Speaker of the House and former U.S. ambassador to Canada.

Scott is considered by some to be the front-runner because his political views align with DeMint’s.

Norman said his tea party conservative views are also aligned with DeMint’s.

Haley has released few details about how she will pick a successor other than to say it would be a person who shares DeMint’s conservative philosophy.

Mulvaney has said if the governor asks, he will take the appointment. Mulvaney had been considering a run for the Senate in 2016, when DeMint was expected not to seek re-election.

Norman said he has always had higher political ambitions. He ran for Congress in 2006 but lost to incumbent Democrat Rep. John Spratt. Spratt lost to Mulvaney in 2010.

Some have suggested that Haley appoint a “caretaker” to DeMint’s seat, someone that who would agree not to campaign in 2014, when a special election must be held. By doing that, Haley could assure a “level playing” field for those seeking DeMint’s former seat.

The 2014 election will be unprecedented in state political history as the two U.S. Senate seats, the governor’s office, all of the U.S. House seats and all statewide offices will be up for election.

Norman said he would not be interested in a “caretaker” appointment. The reality, he said, is whoever gets the jobs will have to start running for election in 2013 because Republican Party primary for the seat is likely.

Norman said he has not had any conversations with Haley about the appointment. He talked to the governor’s staff about his interest. He also said he has not talked to fellow legislators, or local county politicians, about his interest.

Don Worthington 803-329-4066

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