A former South Carolina political advisor who served in the administrations of both President Barack Obama and former Gov. Jim Hodges said Friday that he plans to challenge popular Republican Sen. Tim Scott.
“I have made the decision to run for the United States Senate,” Rick Wade said in an email. “The people of South Carolina understand that Washington is broken. If we are going to solve the big problems we face and get things done, our representatives must be accountable to their constituents.”
Wade, a Democrat, served as director of the S.C. Department of Alcohol and Drug Services under Hodges from 1999 to 2002. He worked as a lobbyist in the South Carolina Statehouse on behalf of Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance until Obama began forming a presidential campaign in 2007. At that point, Wade was Director of the African-American vote with Obama For America. After the 2008 election, he worked as a senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
He started his own global business development firm Wade Group, LLC in 2011. According to his LinkedIn page, Wade also works with Green Tech Automotive as the company’s Head of China Operations.
He is a native of Lancaster. It will be Wade’s second run for statewide office, as he lost to Republican Mark Hammond for S.C. Secretary of State in 2002.
“I have begun traveling across our state, and in the coming months, I’ll be listening to South Carolinians about the challenges they face and the hopes they have to build a better future for themselves and their families,” Wade continued in the email statement. “I will make a more formal public announcement of my candidacy in the weeks ahead.”
Gov. Nikki Haley appointed then-Rep. Scott to fill the Senate seat of Sen. Jim DeMint after DeMint resigned to take a job leading the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation earlier this year. While DeMint’s term does not actually expire until 2016, state law requires voters to choose the seat in the second November after the appointment. Scott does not currently have a Republican challenger.
Richland County councilwoman Joyce Dickerson is also seeking the Democratic nomination. State Sen. John Scott, D-Columbia, is also rumored to be considering a run.
What makes the race interesting from a historical perspective is that Dickerson, Tim Scott, John Scott (no relation), and Wade are all black. South Carolina has never had a statewide race where both political parties’ candidates were black.