South Carolina senator Tim Scott is reportedly preparing to launch a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

This move will confirm years of speculation that Scott, the only Black Republican US Senator currently serving in Congress, has been looking towards winning a higher office. The news of his potential candidacy, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, will come at a time of heightened partisanship in Washington and sharp divisions over issues of race across the country.

As one of the most prominent Black conservatives in the US and the only Black Republican in the Senate, Scott has attempted a delicate balancing act between promoting the republican agenda and promoting reforms.

He has often touted his own success story as the grandson of a man who worked agricultural fields to highlight the idea that racism is no longer the barrier it once was; “our family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime,” Scott has said at various political events.

At the same time, Scott has worked across the aisle with Democrats like Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to pass anti-lynching legislation while also leading Republicans to craft their version of police reform. However, when those efforts ultimately stalled, Scott threw blame at President Biden and Democrats rather than at members of his own party who shot down reform efforts. This tension between being a bipartisan pragmatist and a staunch conservative may create challenges for Scott as he tries to craft an image that will be appealing to voters around the nation.

Scott seeks to enter the race as another prominent politician from South Carolina launches her own presidential bid.

On Tuesday, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who also served as Ambassador to the United Nations for President Donald Trump, announced her candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Haley, as a woman and an Indian American, has a similar appeal as Scott. Both have sought to downplay the power that racism continues to have in the United States while using their own stories to promote the idea that the Republican Party represents more than just white men.

South Carolina is an important state in the race for president; the winner of the Republican primary in the state has gone to win the Republican nomination in nearly every race since 1980. But so far, the mostly Republican state seems to be split between not only Scott and Haley but also Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; the competition in Scott’s home state may therefore be particularly fierce in this election cycle.

A few years ago, it was hard to imagine any Republican challenging Donald Trump, who appeared to have an unbreakable hold on the Republican Party. Since then however, Trump’s influence has been weakened by several things, including the Capitol Hill insurrection and its aftermath; several criminal investigations, including election tampering and withholding classified documents; and the failure of many Trump-backed candidates to win office, most notably during the 2022 elections.

With a number of prominent Republicans set to run against Trump for the nomination, Scott will have a long way to go to position himself as the most viable Republican candidate. Some have speculated that this run is less about winning the nomination and more about building a national brand for future races, or perhaps securing the position of vice presidential candidate alongside whichever Republican ends up with the nomination.