Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday that political experience is not a requirement for the successor to resigning U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.
Haley will name that successor, and two of the governor’s five reported finalists for the coveted seat – former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford and state agency head Catherine Templeton – have not held elected office.
“It is not about time in office, which I think is the wrong way of looking at government,” said Haley, who was a political newcomer when she won a state House seat in 2004. “It’s the effect and the result they can show in office.”
Templeton is a Charleston lawyer who has led the state’s labor and environmental agencies under Haley.
Sanford is a former Wall Street banker who helped run campaigns and office staffs for her ex-husband, former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford. Jenny Sanford also backed fellow Republican Haley’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
The governor also cited the state’s four new GOP congressmen, elected in 2010, as proving experience is overvalued, saying the four quickly adjusted to their roles in Congress. “It took them no time to find their place,” she said.
Two members of South Carolina’s 2010 congressional class also are reportedly finalists to replace DeMint: Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg and Tim Scott of North Charleston.
The other finalist, former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, is the only one of the five finalists to have won a statewide election.
Haley has not provided a timetable for choosing a new senator. She said she is taking her time to ensure her appointee “would be in sync with the people of South Carolina.”
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