South Carolina's Senate race has been called for Republican Tim Scott, who defeated Democrat Joyce Dickerson.
Scott was already a US senator, having been appointed to his seat after his predecessor Jim DeMint resigned in 2012. But the fact that he was elected tonight is significant, as it makes him:
- South Carolina's first popularly elected black senator
- the first African American elected to any statewide office in South Carolina since Reconstruction
- and the first African American ever popularly elected to the Senate from anywhere in the South. The four other black senators who have been popularly elected to the Senate — not appointed by governors or state legislatures — are Massachusetts' Edward Brooke, Barack Obama and Carol Moseley Braun from Illinois, and New Jersey's Cory Booker.
Fun fact: Scott, who's a longtime favorite of Tea Party activists, once served as the campaign co-chairman for infamous segregationist Strom Thurmond. And don't hold your breath waiting for him to celebrate his historic accomplishments with his African-American colleagues. Scott has declined to join the Congressional Black Caucus.