Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)

Age: 47
Hometown: Charleston, S.C.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: In a relationship

Chance has played a large role in Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) career.

Scott planned to be a football player, and had a college athletic scholarship, but a car accident during his senior year of high school changed that. He planned to run for lieutenant governor and then for governor until a House seat opened up in 2010, and he became a member of the lower chamber. And then, in December 2012, he was appointed to the Senate after Republican Sen. Jim DeMint resigned.

“This is not where I anticipated I would ever be,” he told The Hill during an interview in his Senate office. “I was running for lieutenant governor and then planned to run for governor — those were my goals. But once again the good Lord gave me a different path than I anticipated and this showed up.”

Just five years ago, Scott, who used to own an insurance agency, was serving on the Charleston County Council. Now he’s made history as the first African-American senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction, and is the only African-American in the upper chamber.

He joked about being called an “overnight success.”

“I think of it as 6,000 nights of no overnight success,” he said of the 13 years he spent on the city council before coming to Washington.

He admits that “being a unique Republican became its own burden at the beginning.”

When asked to expand on that uniqueness, he laughed and joked: “I’m bald. I’m a bald Republican.”

The 47-year-old bachelor has a girlfriend. “She’s great. We’ll see how it works out.”

But asked to name her, he smiles: “Oh no, I’m smarter that.”

The Dallas Cowboys fan still enjoys football. He says his free time is spent “campaigning” but that he likes to take in a movie every weekend and spends time in the gym to counter his love of Haagen-Dazs Butter Pecan ice cream.

Scott is focused on the 2014 special election in which voters will decide who will fill out the final years of DeMint’s term. Despite the rumors he was considering a gubernatorial bid, Scott says he’s staying in the Senate — for now.

“I’m running for reelection to the U.S. Senate and I’m hopefully going to win in 2014 and, if I’m successful, run again in 2016,” he said. “And then, who knows after that.”

The devout Christian credited his faith with getting him through life.

“This is one of the occasions where I find myself politically and personally that I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been blessed.”

— Emily Goodin

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