South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday named GOP Congressman Tim Scott to be the state's first black senator, replacing the retiring Jim DeMint.

"It is a great day in South Carolina. It is a historic day in South Carolina," Haley said at the state capitol, accompanied by Scott, DeMint, the state's other senator, Republican Lindsey Graham, and other South Carolina members of Congress.

Upon accepting the temporary post, Scott praised DeMint, also a Republican, as a good leader who cannot be replaced.

DeMint, one of the most conservative leaders of the Senate and commended by the Tea Party, on Dec. 6 announced that he will give up his Senate seat on Jan. 1 to assume the presidency of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

After DeMint's surprise announcement, Scott was placed on the short list of possible candidates to replace him.

DeMint said that he "couldn't be happier" with Scott's selection for the seat, which he will occupy until 2014, when a special election will be held to fill the seat by popular vote.

Scott will become the seventh African American to hold a U.S. Senate seat and the first to do so in the Southern state since Reconstruction. EFE