South Carolina state Sen. John Scott, longtime Democratic lawmaker, dies at 69

Aug 13, 2023, 1:08 PM

FILE - South Carolina State Sen. John Scott speaks during a prayer vigil in remembrance of Cyrus Ca...

FILE - South Carolina State Sen. John Scott speaks during a prayer vigil in remembrance of Cyrus Carmack-Belton, Friday, June 2, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. Scott, a longtime South Carolina state lawmaker who served in state government for more than three decades, died Sunday, Aug. 13, after a stint in the hospital, according to Democrats across the state. (AP Photo/Erik Verduzco, File)

(AP Photo/Erik Verduzco, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — State Sen. John Scott, a longtime South Carolina lawmaker who served in state government for more than three decades, died Sunday after a stint in the hospital, according to Democrats across the state. He was 69.

Scott had been at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston since Friday when he was hospitalized for an undisclosed medical issue, according to Senate officials.

In a statement released by Senate President Thomas Alexander, Scott’s family said he “passed away peaceably while surrounded by family and close friends.”

Scott, a Columbia Democrat, operated a realty company and had been in the Legislature for more than 30 years, serving most recently on the Senate’s judiciary, medical affairs and penology committees. First elected to the state House in 1990, he won election to the Senate in 2008 and would have been up for reelection next year. He ran unopposed in the 2020 general election.

Marguerite Willis, who selected Scott as her running mate when she unsuccessfully sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2018, told The Associated Press on Sunday that she was with Scott’s family in Charleston when he died. Recalling their history-making campaign — South Carolina’s first-ever ticket composed of a white woman and Black man — Willis said she and Scott reflected recently on their campaign.

“John and I were just talking about this a month ago,” Willis said. “We were proud of that, and what it said about harmony and diversity and the importance of having both sexes and two races together. It broadened our vision and our experience and thus our impact.”

Willis, who said she hadn’t known Scott until they became running mates, said their political affiliation quickly evolved in a close friendship.

“He was a superb supporter of women and women’s issues,” she said. “It was sort of an arranged marriage in a weird way: people put us together, and over the last five years, we became brother and sister. He was my friend and my family.”

A special election will be held to fill Scott’s seat. According to statute, after the Senate’s presiding officer calls for the election, filing opens on the third Friday after the vacancy, with the election to be held roughly three months later. Gov. Henry McMaster said in statement that Scott “will be deeply missed,” and the governor’s office said he would order flags lowered across the state once funeral arrangements were announced.

Scott’s impact reverberated Sunday throughout South Carolina’s Democratic circles. Christale Spain, elected earlier this year as chair of South Carolina’s Democratic Party and one of Scott’s constituents, remembered him as someone who “used his voice in the General Assembly to fight not only for his district but for all South Carolinians and his life’s work on issues of education, healthcare and economic development will have a lasting impact on our state.”

Senate Democratic Leader Brad Hutto remembered Scott’s “tireless work ethic, his willingness to bridge divides, and his unyielding commitment to the principles of justice and equality.”

“A giant tree has fallen,” former Democratic state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, who served alongside Scott before leaving the chamber earlier this year, said Sunday. Calling him the “financial pit bull of the Senate,” Kimpson said his former colleague “reminded us constantly or our fiscal responsibility to those South Carolinians in need.”


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

United States News

Associated Press

Navy to start random testing of SEALs, special warfare troops for performance-enhancing drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy will begin randomly testing its special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs beginning in November, taking a groundbreaking step that military leaders have long resisted. Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, announced the new program Friday in a message to his force, calling it […]

35 minutes ago

Associated Press

New York man who served 18 years for murder acquitted at 2nd trial

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A New York man who spent 18 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit was found not guilty at a second trial. Paul Scrimo, 66, was acquitted on Thursday in Nassau County Court in the strangulation death of Ruth Williams in 2000, Newsday reported. Scrimo was […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Judge says she is ending conservatorship between former NFL player Michael Oher and Memphis couple

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge said Friday she is ending a conservatorship agreement between former NFL player Michael Oher and a Memphis couple who took him in when he was in high school. Shelby County Probate Court Judge Kathleen Gomes said she is terminating the agreement reached in 2004 that allowed Sean and […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Wisconsin's Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks to reporters at the state Capitol, F...

Associated Press

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice refuses to disclose names of others looking at impeachment

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One of three former Wisconsin Supreme Court justices asked to review possible impeachment of a current justice refused to tell a judge Friday who else was looking into that question. Former Justice David Prosser called a lawsuit alleging violations of the state open meetings law “frivolous,” saying those looking into impeachment […]

1 hour ago

Karin Engstrom, 82, poses for photos at home, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Seattle. Engstrom recen...

Associated Press

804,000 long-term borrowers are having their student loans forgiven before payments resume this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Karin Engstrom thought she’d be paying off her federal student loans for the rest of her life. The 82-year-old was shocked when she logged on to check her balance ahead of payments resuming in October and found that more than $175,000 in debt had been erased. She’s one of 804,000 borrowers […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Costa Mesa, Calif., ...

Associated Press

Trump looks to set up a California primary win with a speech to Republican activists

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Donald Trump will make a personal pitch Friday to California Republicans in a bid to solidify his support in a GOP presidential contest he has dominated for months, while Ron DeSantis and other rivals get another chance to break the front-runner’s momentum with time fast vanishing to reorder the race. Trump’s […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.

South Carolina state Sen. John Scott, longtime Democratic lawmaker, dies at 69