It seems to be a logical fit: DeMint and Scott are close, personally and ideologically, and Scott has the conservative bona fides that are undoubtedly DeMint-approved. He’s risen in the House quickly since his election in 2010, serving on the powerful Rules Committee and working closely with GOP leadership as a liaison for the freshman class, while maintaining good relationships with the tea party wing of House Republicans…

It’s Scott’s ability to articulate the case for conservatism among the poor that may put him ahead of the pack.

“He can say all the things Jim DeMint says, which when Jim says it can sound sometimes to the outside world as pretty harsh,” said Brent Nelsen, a political science professor at Furman University. “Tim says exactly the same things as Jim does, but he talks about his upbringing and the mentor who taught him the principles of making it in the world. He’s really credible as a conservative who has a heart for disadvantaged people.”

At least one of Scott’s in-state colleagues said he believes Scott is a leading contender.