By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint's resignation gives Gov. Nikki Haley authority to choose South Carolina's next senator, and the only indication she's made so far is that she won't appoint herself.
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.
Haley also could make history by appointing Rep. Tim Scott, who would become South Carolina's first black U.S. senator and the chamber's first black Republican from the South since Reconstruction.
On the importance of the appointment, Haley said,"Appointing a new member of the U.S. Senate is a solemn duty, and I take this responsibility with utmost seriousness. I will make this decision in a manner that is thoughtful and dignified, but also quickly.
"I want to make two things clear from the outset. Number one, I will not take the appointment myself. Number two, I will appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share.
"With all the challenges we face as a state and nation, it is essential that the next senator from South Carolina be dedicated to the principles that our state most values."