Sen. Tim Scott is burnishing his fundraising credentials as he gears up for his reelection campaign and as his national profile rises as a potential presidential candidate.
The South Carolina Republican’s campaign raised $9.6 million from April through June, according to fundraising numbers shared first with CQ Roll Call. Scott has become a national figure, delivering the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress in April and giving a prime-time address at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
The $9.6 million haul is the highest total a senator up for reelection next year has released so far this cycle. It’s more than four times what Scott raised in the first quarter of the year, and $3.4 million above what he raised in winning his first full term in 2016.
The second-quarter fundraising was fueled by 91,000 donors, and Scott’s campaign ended the quarter on June 30 with $14.5 million in the bank.
“Senator Tim Scott’s campaign is built on a broad base of grassroots supporters who stand with him to fight a radical and out-of-touch Democratic agenda that will hurt South Carolina families,” Sam Oh, Scott’s campaign consultant, said in a statement. “South Carolina is ready to reelect Tim Scott and we are proud of the record breaking support we have received so early in the cycle.”
Scott’s strong fundraising is a sign that he is looking to shore up his campaign coffers after South Carolina emerged as a battleground for control of the Senate in 2020.
Last year’s Senate race between the state’s senior senator, Republican Lindsey Graham, and Democrat Jaime Harrison cost $279 million, according to OpenSecrets.org. Harrison’s fundraising prowess helped put South Carolina in play, but he ultimately lost to Graham by 10 points. Harrison now chairs the Democratic National Committee.
The Palmetto State is not among the eight states that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as Senate battlegrounds for the 2022 midterms. Former President Donald Trump carried the state by 12 points last fall.
Trump has endorsed Scott’s reelection bid, and the senator also has the backing of other national Republican leaders. His campaign launch video, released in late June, featured footage of Trump as well as endorsements from former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, all of whom are also potential 2024 presidential candidates.
While Scott’s fundraising haul could demonstrate strength ahead of a potential White House run of his own, his campaign is also focused on the reelection race ahead.
Democratic state Rep. Krystle Matthews and Republican Timothy Swain have already filed with the Federal Election Commission to challenge Scott. Swain did not file a first-quarter fundraising report. Matthews launched her campaign during the second quarter, so she will file her first report this week.
Scott’s second-quarter haul this year surpasses the $6.2 million he raised when he ran for his first full term in 2016. He won that race by 24 points, defeating Democratic pastor Thomas Dixon.
Scott, the only Black Republican senator, was appointed to the Senate by Haley in 2013 after serving in the House and the state legislature. He has been the lead GOP negotiator on a House-passed policing bill named for George Floyd, a Black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year. Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
Scott has voted in line with his party, backing GOP leadership on votes 98 percent of the time, according to CQ Vote Watch.
He has been known to occasionally criticize Trump, particularly when the former president has made racist comments, such as Trump’s tweet that four liberal congresswomen, all women of color, should “go back.”
But Scott largely supported Trump’s priorities in Congress, voting in line with him 97 percent of the time, on par with the average GOP senator.
Scott twice voted against convicting Trump during the former president’s impeachment trials, but Scott did join the majority of GOP senators in voting to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, which Trump pushed Republicans to reject.