Automated Poll Says Colbert, Tim Scott Favorites for South Carolina Senate Seat

Rep. Tim Scott tops the list of candidates Republicans expect to see in South Carolina's Senate seat this spring, but at least one poll found voters holding out hope for a wholly different personality.

Automated phone pollster Public Policy Polling released a poll today saying comedian Stephen Colbert is South Carolina's favorite to take Jim DeMint's seat in the Senate.

Rumors about Colbert's candidacy for the spot circulated last week when a Twitter account with the handle @ColbertforSC cropped up, amassing more than 3,000 followers in its first day of existence.

On his show Thursday, Colbert added fuel to the fire by suggesting fans tweet to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, telling her why Colbert should be South Carolina's next senator.

But @ColbertforSC, which says it is not affiliated with the comedian or his show on its website, fell silent over the weekend, without explanation.

Perhaps it's because Haley put what would seem to be an end to the comedian's campaign Friday with a post on Facebook , declaring Colbert made a "big, big mistake" when he forgot South Carolina's state drink while interviewing him on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."

But soon after today's poll was released, @ColbertforSC started up again.

Next behind Colbert in the poll was Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the man who South Carolina Republican sources say is a favorite among the people of the state. ABC News reported Scott was most likely to take fellow Tea Party Republican DeMint's spot after DeMint announced he was leaving the Senate to lead conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation.

Scott would be a unique pick for South Carolina, because he would be the first African-American senator from the Southern state, appointed by an Indian-American governor, no less.

South Carolinian newspaper The State suggested Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Trey Gowdy might also have a shot at the seat. They received 5 percent and 12 percent of voters polled respectively in the PPP survey. Another well-known name on that list was Mark Sanford - the former S.C. governor who lied about hiking the Appalachian trail to visit his extra-marital lover in Argentina. His wife, Jenny Sanford, was on the list, too, and beat her husband among South Carolinians polled.

But ultimately, the choice will be up to Haley, and she's not ready to throw it away.

"As I continue to consider the impending Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a 'placeholder' appointee who would pledge to serve for only two years and not seek election to the seat in 2014," Haley wrote in a statement released Monday. "While there are some good arguments in favor of that approach, I believe the better case is against it."

The South Carolinian governor said she wanted a senator who would "work hard day in and day out," without worrying about an approaching election.