msnbc | December 08, 2012
>>> jim demint stealing the spotlight this week with his sudden resignation, sparking a lot of speculation about who might replace him. so who will it be and what will demin's departure mean for the gop? and it might not be the only shake-up within the republican party as rnc chairman reis up for e election as well. alex fini and caton dawson , as well. former chairman of the south carolina republican party , former adviser to the rick perry campaign. good to have you both on this saturday afternoon. before we get to the discussion, let me go ahead and address the big elephant in the room , kate dawson . you told reporters at the hill that you would be open to filling the seat that's being left vacant by senator jim demint . has the governor approached you? has she called you?
>> craig , i put your name in the hat this morning. i remember when you carried a camera all over south carolina on your shoulder. you along with 1.2 million other people have asked for that job. governor hailey is going to make a solid pick. it's her choice, her constitutional duty. she doesn't let all the noise get all around her, craig . i feel confident it will be a fairly quick pick , one that resembles south carolina and she'll move forward doing the business of the state. we'll have a new senator whether they run again in 2014 , 2016 . it did complicate a lot of people's political ambitions but certainly campaigning for that would be a mistake with governor hailey. she'll make a solid pick. we're proud of the job that jim deminlt did for us. came in first thing this morning.
>> i appreciate that. thank you so much. i want to bring you in but i want to get katon dawson to answer my question. if she asked, would you say yes? yes or no.
>> again, craig , there's not many people who have done politics in south carolina that understand the role of a united states senator for this --
>> you've rehearsed a lot. all right.
>> he's too much of a professional. you're not going to get an answer.
>> we'll move on.
>> thank you.
>> with a, of the way, karen finney , this is senator lindsay braham graham's reaction to jim demint 's resignation. take a listen.
>> i met with jim demint this morning and to say i was stunned is an understatement. he has always been a friend, somebody i could count on. personally, we've really enjoyed our time together. and i just -- i was stunned this morning.
>> stunned he may have been karen , but if somebody was standing by he probably would have high fived him because there was a good chance he was going to get pry married in the palmetto state. "the washington post " points out he was one of the poorest senators in 2010 so we knew he would be financially stable. how big of a blow is his departure and what should we expect down the road from the heritage foundation with jim demint at its hell snm.
>> the first thing i would say is with his departure i think it does show sort of the diminishing role and potentially the influence of the tea party inside congress. but jim demint is a movement conservative. so moving to the heritage foundation he'll have to i think compete with the likes of grover norquist for the unelected leader of the republican party , because i think we'll hear from him and see a lot from him. i mean, you know, he may not have always picked candidates, thinking of murdoch and aiken, who won, but i would expect to see him continue to try to push the republican party , you know, as he did on the inside similarly from the outside using, you know, sort of the tools and the levers that the heritage foundation affords. i would just -- i would like to put in a plug for katon. i don't want to worry your chans so i'm going to resist giving my own endorsement, but you would be a wonderful addition inside republican party for voice of reason.
>> look at that, katon dawson . take that the governor and see how much it helps you.
>> karen just doomed my chances of winning because we don't agree on anything. i'm telling you, i put craig melvin's flame name in first thing this morning.
>> i'll say you're so unreasoning.
>> i want you to speculate with me for a second. if it's not you, who else could it be down there? there are a lot of folks who think it could be tim scott , the little country congressman tea party favorite. it would allow the governor to say she appointed the only black senator in the entire u.s. senate . if it's not you, who else is a front runner ?
>> certainly the list is long. tim scott is a remarkable personal story, and karen understands this, when you do politics in the state, you make a lot of friends. and right now there are a lot of qualified people. tim scott just got on ways and means . insiders understand the importance of that to a state. he certainly has rock star status here regardless of what happens. good pick, former attorney general, former county governor . there is a long bench of republican conservatives here that want that. and the governor's going to have her pick. you know, we'll just see how that plays out. i think she's going to do it pretty quick. i think it'll be interesting to see what they do for 2014 , because now lindsey's got a seat up and lindsey's tough as a tiger electorally, but that does -- and let me mix this in, karen . that moves presidential primary politics quicker, too. we're going to see the players coming earlier. two u.s. senate seats there.
>> that's correct.
>> a conservative state. craig , you've worked here before. so it really took christmas by surprise for political operatives and people in the business because the 16 cycle just starred with jim deminlt's announcement.
>> karen finney , before i let you get out of here, i want to ask you about impressive vus. you've got to think he's got to have a tough argument to make considering what happened at the ballot box . what do you think happens?
>> well, you saw last week he went -- i believe it was up to new york to meet with donors. i would expect you'll see more of that in terms of his conversations with donors and other influentials within the party and i'm sure he's going about the process of counting volts. you have j.c. watts , kind of former congressman, out there kind of seemingly testing the walters. i think the pressure is certainly on chairman priebus. i think he's got to go and make a case for a vision for the party. one of the things that i give my former boss, howard dean , former vermont governor chairman of the party credit for is he came in as chairman and said here's my vision for how he we organize our party from the grassroots up. itch heard that kind of talk from priebus. that's the kind-vision i think you need to hear.
>> karen finney , senator katon dawson , a big thanks to both of you on this saturday afternoon. katon, if it happens we expect you to come back on and announce it on this air. have a great saturday. ten seconds. go. ten seconds. go.
>> the rnc race, that's one i've been in before. rens priebus is a friend. he's got it. that's an inside baseball deal. that race is over in my opinion.ince prieb us is a friend. he's got it. that's an inside baseball deal. that race is over in my opinion.
>> i sure have enjoyed you two.