A former Charleston County Council member and U.S. representative, Tim Scott became the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to fill the seat of resigning Sen. Jim DeMint in January 2013. Now, after winning this year's Republican primary with 90 percent of the vote, Scott is seeking to defend his seat in the Senate.
Jill Bossi, American
Jill Bossi has worked as vice president and chief procurement officer for the American Red Cross and as a senior vice president for Bank of America. Now she's running for the Senate on the moderate American Party ticket.
"Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are in this for the right reasons anymore," Bossi says. "They're there for the money. They're there for the power. They're not there for the public."
Bossi, a resident of Tega Cay, has never run for public office before. But she says her work in the private sector has taught her valuable skills for the Senate, including "consensus building, negotiation, [and] how to work in a cross-functional team effectively." In office, she says she would work to establish term limits: 12 years for senators, and either six or eight years for representatives.
"Term limits and campaign finance reform will go a long way toward cleaning up the toxic waste dump that is Washington, D.C. today," Bossi says.
While Bossi says she does not consider herself a Tea Party Republican, she does favor parts of the Flat Tax and Fair Tax proposals. She says she would combine ideas from the two plans to create what she calls a "Fair Flat Tax," with the goal of creating an effective income and corporate tax rate of 15 percent across the board. She says her plan would include earned-income tax credits to protect the poor and deductions for expenses including home mortgages and charitable donations.
Bossi says she also wants to make some changes to the Affordable Care Act.
"For those who are in need, we can come up with a better plan for insurance than the one that the ACA provided," Bossi says. "I'm not saying throw out the ACA, but I'm saying do a major overhaul, one that really builds on the strengths of the American economy."
Joyce Dickerson, Democratic
Joyce Dickerson, a former cosmetologist who returned to school at age 50 to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting and management from Benedict College, has spent the last nine years on Richland County Council. She has never run for a higher office, but she says she has learned lessons that would be applicable in the U.S. Senate.
"I got very much involved in transportation. That became a passion of mine," Dickerson says. She says one of her greatest achievements on County Council has been getting a penny sales tax referendum passed to fund the local bus system and repair old roads. If elected to the Senate, she says she would push for a commuter rail line connecting Charlotte, Columbia, and Charleston. "I believe that will be one of the most economical, feasible things that we can ever do," Dickerson says.
Dickerson says she wants to change immigration policy in a way that "will not discriminate against the nation's growing Hispanic and other immigrant populations," but she does not have a detailed plan. "I do think that we need to just sit down and have a conversation as to basically how we're going to do it," Dickerson says.
She also says she wants to reduce the national debt, and she says her experience on County Council could be useful in that arena.
"We spend a lot of time working on that budget," Dickerson says. "We figure out a lot of ways where — you know, you have a program that was instituted in 1975; is it still working in 2014? If not, how do you modify it? I do think you need to look at various plans and various things that are on the books and see whether or not they're obsolete, and if so, delete them and take those funds and put them other places."
Tim Scott, Republican (Incumbent)
Sen. Tim Scott's campaign team did not respond to an interview request in time for this story.