COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she will not appoint herself to replace outgoing Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.
The Republican governor took questions from callers on WORD-FM on Thursday. She promised to appoint someone who would fight for conservative ideas.
Haley says she had no timetable to announce her pick to replace DeMint, but says she will not drag the decision out. She also didn't mention whether she is supporting anyone specifically.
DeMint announced Thursday he will resign at the end of the year to become president of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Whomever Haley appoints would face a special election in 2014 to finish DeMint's term, which expires in 2016.
Many Republicans believe Haley will choose Congressman Tim Scott to replace DeMint. Scott released a statement Thursday that said "I first want to thank Senator DeMint for the tremendous work he has done on behalf of South Carolina and the nation. His commitment to conservative principles leaves a true legacy, and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know and work with him over the past two years. Looking forward, Governor Haley will now appoint a new Senator, and I know she will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation.”
Fellow Congressman Mick Mulvaney, of Indian Land, spoke openly with NBC Charlotte about his interest in the Senate seat.
"Of I'd be interested. Any politician would be lying to you if they said it wouldn't be an honor to serve in the U.S. Senate, it's a tremendous job," said Mulvaney, who had just landed at the Charlotte Airport, "We would certainly consider it if Nikki [Haley] wanted to talk about it, but we are not actively pursuing it."
Some political experts think Haley could choose a person like former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, to serve just until the special election in 2014.
Dark horse candidates being mentioned include former S.C. Governor Mark Sanford, who finished his term admist scandal over his disappearance and affair with a woman in Argentina, Maria Belen-Chapur. Sanford is now engaged to Belen-Chapur and has told state operatives he is interested in getting back into politics.
Haley is expected to make a decision soon, sometime before the holidays. DeMint is set to retire December 31 2012.