May 16, 2023 - Election

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joining Tim Scott's campaign

Former Gov. Bill Haslam in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Gov. Bill Haslam is wading into the upcoming presidential race by signing on as national co-chair of U.S. Sen. Tim Scott's forthcoming campaign, Politico's Natalie Allison reports.

Why it matters: Haslam's support could connect the South Carolina Republican with key allies and donors within the party establishment.

  • Politico notes this is Haslam's first endorsement since he left office in 2019.
  • The former governor was sometimes critical of former President Trump, who is currently seen as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

What he's saying: "In the end, one of the things I learned from being in elected office is it really does matter who we elect," Haslam told Allison, who used to cover state politics for the Tennessean.

  • "The more I talked to Tim, the more I became convinced that he's got a message that the country really needs to hear right now."

Details: Scott has served on the Senate since 2014, when he became the first Black senator to be elected in the South since Reconstruction.

  • Fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley — who was governor of the state at the same time as Haslam — announced her own bid for presidency earlier this year.

What's next: Scott has already launched an exploratory committee to kick the tires on a presidential bid. He is expected to make a formal announcement about his campaign next Monday.

Of note: Trump has won several endorsements from Tennessee officials, including most of the state's congressional delegation.


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