Gov. Nikki Haley vets Stephen Colbert for Senate

posted at 10:41 am on December 14, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

This is fun for a Friday. Gov. Nikki Haley is now deciding who will take Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) place when he leaves the Senate to head up The Heritage Foundation.

Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert tops the list of preferred appointments with South Carolinians, according to a PPP poll:

Colbert tops the wish list of who South Carolina voters would like to see join that body at 20%, followed by Tim Scott at 15%, Trey Gowdy at 14%, Jenny Sanford at 11%, Henry McMaster and Mark Sanford at 8%, Jeff Duncan and Joe Wilson at 5%, and Mick Mulvaney at 4%.

It’s Democrats and independents- those voters Haley most needs to improve her standing with- who are pining for a Colbert appointment. Among Democrats 32% say they’d like Colbert to be picked with Jenny Sanford at 19% and no one else in double digits. With crucial independent voters Colbert has a 15 point lead for the appointment, getting 28% to 13% for Tim Scott, 12% for Jenny Sanford, and 10% for Trey Gowdy with no one else in double digits.

So, there’s that. You can fret about what this says about the voting public, wonder whether it’s the Senate they’re goofing on or the pollsters, or you can just play along with the joke.

That’s what Haley did yesterday, acknowledging the public’s desire for a satirist in the Senate by giving him a vetting worthy of a satirist.

Here’s what she found out:

Stephen Colbert

Given that news updates out of South Carolina on this subject have been scarce, Haley seemed to enjoy keeping the political press wondering, as it did in almost ludicrous fashion over this:

Just prior to releasing her research on Mr. Colbert, Ms. Haley posted some lyrics from Adele’s hit “Rumor Has It” on her Facebook page. The ellipsis-filled status update, which was also shared on Twitter, simply included the song’s title and some of the words without any further explanation from Ms. Haley, prompting MSNBC’s Chuck Todd to wonder whether the post actually came from her. Politicker reached out to a spokesman for the governor who confirmed the Facebook post was something “she personally did herself.”

The field of possibilities remains unchanged:

Her short list means South Carolina could have its first Black U.S. senator or first female senator.

The person with knowledge of the process says the Republican governor is choosing among U.S. Reps. Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy, former first lady Jenny Sanford, state agency director Catherine Templeton, and former state Attorney General Henry McMaster.

Speculation abounds over who she might pick to fill the seat through 2014, when voters will choose someone to serve the remaining two years of DeMint’s term. The guesses began as soon as DeMint announced his resignation, effective Jan. 1, to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Names tossed out as possibilities include the state’s four congressmen recently re-elected to their second term.

Scott was just named to the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

If Colbert actually ever did make it to the Hill, we have pretty good evidence that it would suck all the funny out of him, anyway. It’s happened before.


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