Orthodox Jew and Black Republican Tim Scott Make Strange Political Bedfellows

Nick Muzin Helps S. Carolina Conservative Make It to Senate

I Swear: Tim Scott, the first Black Republican elected to Congress from South Carolina, chats with consultant Nick Muzin. Scott was recently sworn in after being appointed to the U.S. Senate.
JTA
I Swear: Tim Scott, the first Black Republican elected to Congress from South Carolina, chats with consultant Nick Muzin. Scott was recently sworn in after being appointed to the U.S. Senate.

By JTA

Published February 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

On a Saturday night following Shabbat, Nick Muzin arrayed on his dining room table what would turn out to be the winning strategy to elect the first black Republican to Congress from South Carolina in more than a century.

The next night at the same table in his Charleston, S.C., home, Muzin hosted his weekly Talmud class.

Associates say the duality typifies Muzin, the 37-year-old Orthodox Jewish dynamo now leading the effort by House Republicans to expand the party’s appeal following Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama last November.

The ascension of Tim Scott from the South Carolina statehouse to the U.S. House of Representatives – and last December to the U.S. Senate – is relatively well known.

First elected to the House in 2010 as a leader of the Tea Party, Scott won reelection last November before being tapped just a few weeks later by Gov. Nikki Haley to fill the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Jim DeMint. Scott’s quick ascendance, the rarity of his being a black Republican and his Tea Party stature has earned him national attention.

Less well known is the role of Muzin, the Toronto-born doctor, lawyer and Jewish scholar who has been instrumental in paving Scott’s way. Muzin managed Scott’s 2010 campaign and from 2009 until December was his chief of staff.

Though Muzin now is director of strategy for the House Republican Conference, he also heads Scott’s fundraising political action committee.

The close alliance – and friendship – between a black Tea Party Republican from the South and an Orthodox Jewish doctor-lawyer from Canada is a rarity in politics, and upends perceptions about how blacks and Jews interact, Muzin and Scott say.

Scott, 47, is the first to credit Muzin for his success. Without Muzin’s entreaties that Saturday night in January 2010, Scott may not have run for the Charleston-area House seat that opened with the retirement of Rep. Henry Brown.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.