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.
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“I find that the student body here is ultra-liberal and extremely intolerant,” Muzin, then vice president of Yale’s conservative Federalist Society, told the campus paper.

Muzin joined George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign as a counsel for the Republican National Committee and served in a similar role for the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

In 2006, while working in Washington as an attorney defending physicians and pharmaceutical companies, Muzin began seeing the scion of a prominent Charleston family, Andrea Zucker. Within months, after a surprise proposal in Jerusalem during a trip to Israel, the two were married.

“People thought we were crazy,” Zucker told Charleston Weddings magazine.

Zucker’s father, Jerry, was a Forbes 400 billionaire who owned, among other properties, the Canadian retail giant Hudson’s Bay Company. When Jerry Zucker was diagnosed with cancer, the Muzins moved to Charleston to help out with the family business. The elder Zucker died in 2008.

“My wife bought me a tourist’s guide to the South,” Muzin said. “She said, ‘See this as an extended adventure.’ I kind of embraced it: I bought a truck, a King Ranch F-150” – a Ford. “I got into boating, I started training to compete in triathlons.”

The truck surprised friends. “I didn’t need it for any reason whatsoever,” Muzin said, laughing. He practiced medicine a day a week at a free clinic and started hosting weekly Talmud classes.

In 2010, with Obama’s health-care reform about to pass, Muzin again turned to medical policy. He sensed that Scott, the success-story son of a single mother, would be an effective spokesman against Obamacare.

“He came over to my house on motzei Shabbos and I laid out a memo and I said, ‘If you decide to run, these are the issues,’ ” Muzin recalled of that Saturday night.

Scott was won over and Muzin was soon running his campaign.

Scott quickly won the endorsement of DeMint and Rep. Eric Cantor, (R-Va.), who was set then to become House majority leader. Scott won the fundraising battle with his most serious challenger, Paul Thurmond, son of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), and the primary race before trouncing his Democratic challenger in the general election.

Muzin became Scott’s chief of staff and moved back to Washington, family in tow. He now has four children. He has sold the Ford truck.

Since December, Muzin has been leading the Republicans’ outreach to groups that rejected the party in the last election, noting “Hispanic voters, young and libertarian voters, women, Asians, African-Americans.”


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