Scott was first elected to the House in 2010, winning an open seat after defeating the son of longtime Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), the former segregationist who held the state’s other Senate seat for nearly 50 years until 2003.DeMint's term runs until 2016, but there will be a special election in 2014, so it remains to be seen whether this black Republican from the South can win a state-wide election.
He will become just the seventh African-American to serve in the Senate and the first black senator from the South since the 1880s.
Only three black senators have been voted into office by their constituents: Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.), Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) and now-President Barack Obama (D-Ill.). The others were elected by their state legislatures (before direct election of U.S. senators began) or appointed.
ADDED: The linked WaPo article identifies Thurmond — "the former segregationist" — as a Republican, but when he was a big-time segregationist, he was a Democrat:
Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003, at first as a Democrat and, after 1964, as a Republican....
In opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, he conducted the longest filibuster ever by a lone senator, at 24 hours and 18 minutes in length, nonstop. In the 1960s, he opposed the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965 to end segregation and enforce the voting rights of African-American citizens. He always insisted he had never been a racist, but was opposed to excessive federal authority.