NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who just launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Monday, told Breitbart News exclusively that “100 percent” he does not view the GOP primary as a “two-man race” between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—which is why he jumped in the race.
“My case is simple,” Scott told Breitbart News. “I believe America can do for anyone what America did for me. The important thing is restoring hope and creating opportunities—and protecting America. It’s never been more important to have a president who can persuade. It’s critical. We have to be able to go beyond our base in order to attract more people to the story of America if we’re going to win elections. We haven’t won a general election popular vote in a very long time. It’s time for us to get back to winning.”
WATCH: Sen. Tim Scott Announces Run for President of the United States:
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Many political pundits and media commentators, especially those aligned with DeSantis, have tried to portray the race as between just Trump and DeSantis. But Scott clearly does not see it that way. DeSantis has dropped significantly in public polling in recent months, a collapse ahead of an expected announcement this week or next that is perhaps unparalleled in modern political history, down into the mid-teens in national polls and into single digits in some big states like New York. The double-digit swings against DeSantis and towards Trump have left other Republicans wondering whether DeSantis has the capability to effectively challenge the former president, and that doubt around DeSantis as evidenced by major donors walking away from him has clearly opened the door to others like Scott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy entering the field.
Scott’s entrance into the race is maybe the most significant of any non-Trump or non-DeSantis candidate yet for this question, because for months it was unclear if he was going to run—and also because it signals the dam is breaking and the field is growing and it is likely to get even larger soon. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has said he will make a decision soon and may enter the field as soon as this week, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has said he is more likely than not to run himself as well.
Scott has the backing of both of South Dakota’s U.S. Senators—South Dakota borders Iowa, the first-in-the-nation state to vote with caucuses coming up in January—and obviously has represented first-in-the-south primary state South Carolina in the U.S. Senate for over a decade during which time he won three statewide elections including reelection last year. All of that, plus a sizable campaign war chest with tens of millions of federal campaign dollars left over from his Senate run and more mega donors on the way, bodes well for Scott’s chances to build out a serious and formidable early state operation especially here in South Carolina but also in Iowa and in New Hampshire. Now that he’s in the race, too, Scott is heading off to the other early states on a tour this week to hit the trail both in the Granite and Hawkeye states and build his rapport with voters.
Asked during his interview with Breitbart News here after his campaign launch speech in front of thousands of supporters in his hometown at his alma mater Charleston Southern University how he intends to first win the nomination and then secondly the general election—and the popular vote nationally to boot, something he said is aiming for—Scott said he intends to focus not on himself but on the people he is trying to help.
“I think the simple answer is it’s not about politicians, it’s about people,” Scott said. “It’s about the 7-year-old girl on stage today, Jordan. It’s about the 12-year-old girl, Southerlyn, on the stage. If we keep our focus on the American people and on the next generation, I think you start finding your secret sauce.”
Scott added that education and providing opportunity to every American is critical—and that when he delivers this message, he has found its uplifting tone connects with voters across the board.
“When I talk about restoring hope, I’m talking about the people climbing up the hard ladder where the rungs have been replaced because Joe Biden has pulled them out,” Scott told Breitbart News. “When we talk about success, I think restoring hope has a lot to do with education—it’s about making sure every single family in this nation has a voice and every child has a chance. Every child in every zip code should have quality education. You think about our economic realities, as I said on the stage today, that 2017 tax reform bill—I was one of the four key authors of that bill. I’m excited about continuing to extend and making permanent those tax cuts. That’s $2.6 trillion of more resources. The industrial revolution I talked about, an era of innovation—we’re talking about creating cures and reducing healthcare costs and we’re asking about providing officers with the latest and greatest equipment. When I have an opportunity to share that optimistic positive message that’s anchored in conservatism as a backbone, I have found that people respond to it very positively.”