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Tim Scott Formally Enters Presidential Race With FEC Filing

(Bloomberg) -- US Senator Tim Scott formally entered the 2024 presidential race, becoming the latest candidate to challenge former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

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Scott has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and will make an announcement Monday in his home state of South Carolina.

He’ll join a GOP field that includes Trump, the frontrunner, as well as fellow South Carolinian and former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and conservative radio host Larry Elder. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the runner-up to Trump in most primary polls, is widely expected to enter the race as well.

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The only Black Republican US senator currently in the chamber, Scott, 57, has visited early GOP primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, speaking about his faith and outlining an optimistic view of an America grounded in conservative principles. He also hosted a donor summit in South Carolina, another state that holds a GOP primary early in the cycle.

He plans to return to Iowa and New Hampshire after announcing his campaign.

Scott bought $62,659 in air time in Des Moines, Iowa, according to Ad Impact, which triggered his filing. Individuals who spend or raise more than $5,000 seeking the nomination have to register as candidates with the FEC. The ads start next Wednesday. Scott also purchased $52,000 in air time for New Hampshire.

Taylor Budowich, CEO of the Trump super-PAC Make America Great Again Inc., jabbed at both Scott and DeSantis, who was seen as the strongest challenger to the former president before sliding in the polls.

“Ron DeSantis’ failed shadow campaign has opened the flood gates for career politicians looking to seize an opportunity to raise their profile ahead of the 2028 race,” Budowich said in a statement.

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Scott has been an effective fundraiser, building a national network of contributors. His 2022 Senate race wasn’t competitive, but he still raised $43 million and had $22 million left over, which he can tap for his presidential run.

Some 85% of the money came from out-of-state donors, according to OpenSecrets. Employees of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Blackstone Group Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were among his top 10 sources of campaign cash.

The Opportunity Matters Fund, an allied super-PAC, raised $37 million last year. Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison gave $30 million, but other big Republican donors also chipped in. Citadel’s Ken Griffin contributed $250,000, Marc Rowan, chief executive officer of Apollo Global Management Inc., gave $150,000, and Blackstone Chairman Stephen Schwarzman gave $100,000.

The super-PAC, which features Scott on its home page, ended 2022 with $13 million, according to its latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.

--With assistance from Gregory Korte.

(Updates with adds on TV buys in sixth paragraph, reaction in paragraphs 7-8)

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