South Carolina Rep.-elect Tim Scott, the first black Republican from the South since Reconstruction, said Wednesday that he will not join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
“While I recognize the efforts of the CBC and appreciate their invitation for me to caucus with them, I will not be joining at this time,” Scott said. “My campaign was never about race.”
Members of the CBC said before the election that Scott, along with Florida Republican Rep.-elect Allen West, would both be welcomed into the caucus if they wanted to join. West has said he intends to become a member next year and the CBC officially announced on Nov. 9 that he will be accepted.
Scott and West are the first black Republican House members since J.C. Watts, who retired seven years ago and infamously decided not to join the CBC during his tenure.
As the only Republican in the caucus, West said last month that he intends to bring a “different voice” to what he called a “monolithic viewpoint” within the CBC.
This article has been updated since publication.