We applaud Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to appoint U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to replace U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, who is resigning to take over the leadership of the conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation.

DeMint was overwhelming re-elected two years ago – a win that shows his popularity among South Carolina voters. He remains a popular figure throughout the state, and Haley was wise to choose a like-minded person to replace him.

“What we looked for in a new senator is a fighter – someone with courage and leadership for our state and nation at a time when we need it most, and someone who understands South Carolina’s issues and knows her people. That’s what we found in Tim Scott,” Haley said in a news release announcing her appointment.

Scott is staunchly conservative, there’s no doubt about that. He’s popular among the tea party leaders and was the 80th most conservative member of the House, according to National Journal’s 2011 Vote Ratings. As a freshman representative, he was tapped by GOP leaders to serve on the Elected Leadership Committee.

Scott’s appointment will make him the Senate’s only black member, and the South’s only black senator since Reconstruction.

The fact that he’s a Republican only makes him more unique.

Scott is a self-made man from Charleston. He became a millionaire through hard work and entrepreneurship. His early runs in local and state politics were both successful and unsuccessful – but he pressed on.

It was his U.S. House primary win over Paul Thurmond, son of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, that propelled him into the national spotlight.

Scott comes to the Senate during a tumultuous time in U.S. politics. His voice and presence could be a catalyst to bring both sides of the aisle closer.

He also will continue the conservative leadership the majority of the voters of South Caroline have demanded.