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Tim Scott launches presidential exploratory committee

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) announced early Wednesday that he is launching a 2024 presidential exploratory committee, making him one of the highest-profile Republicans to potentially challenge former President Trump for the GOP nomination.

“I know America is a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression. I know it because I lived it,” Scott said in his announcement video. “That’s why it pains my soul to see the Biden liberals attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb. If the radical left gets their way, millions more families will be trapped in failing schools, crime ridden neighborhoods and crushing inflation. Not on my watch.”

“This is personal to me. I will never back down in defense of the conservative values that make America exceptional,” he added. “And that’s why I’m announcing my exploratory committee for President of the United States.”

Scott’s launch comes as he prepares to visit early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina this week. An exploratory committee allows the senator to raise money for a presidential campaign, including covering the costs for polling and travel before he makes a final decision.

Scott did not mention Trump in his announcement video, but instead railed against President Biden and Democrats. He said that his life “disproves their lies,” referring to Biden and the Democratic Party.

“Today, our country is once again being tested. Once again, our divisions run deep and the threat to our future is real,” he said. “Joe Biden and the radical left have chosen a culture of grievance over greatness. They’re promoting victimhood instead of personal responsibility and they’re indoctrinating our children to believe we live in an evil country.”

“See, I was raised by a single mother in poverty. The spoons in our apartment were plastic, not silver. But we had faith. We put in the work and we had an unwavering belief that we too could live the American dream,” he added.

A handful of Republican senators told The Hill last week that they talked to Scott about his potential run for president, with many of them indicating they hoped he would run and that he would make a top-level candidate.

Sens. John Thune (S.D.), Mike Rounds (S.D.) and John Cornyn (Texas) all said they had directly encouraged the South Carolina senator to throw his hat in the ring, while Sens. Kevin Cramer (N.D.) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) said they spoke with him in private about a potential run.

Most recent polls have Trump leading the Republican field, including official and potential 2024 GOP candidates, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) following him in second place. The only Republicans to launch formal challenges to Trump are former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Scott trailed other Republicans with 7 percent support among registered Republican South Carolina voters in a poll released early Wednesday. By comparison, Trump had 41 percent support in the Winthrop University survey, while DeSantis and Haley had 20 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

That poll has a margin of error of 4.45 percentage points.

— Updated at 7:59 a.m.

Tags 2024 GOP presidential primary Donald Trump Joe Biden Kevin Cramer Nikki Haley Ron DeSantis Tim Scott Tim Scott Vivek Ramaswamy

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

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