How Tim Scott’s run for president is affecting his role as senator

(WASHINGTON) — Just a few hours before the midnight deadline, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to keep the government open for 45 more days by a vote of 88-9. Only two senators were not present: Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow and South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott. Stabenow posted on X that she is sick with COVID while Scott, fresh off of a speech at the California GOP Convention Friday as its keynote speaker, was on the campaign trail fundraising.

Scott is the only member of Congress running for president in the 2024 election.

When asked last month at Faith & Freedom’s Fall Banquet in Iowa if he would vote to shut down the government over the budget, Scott responded he would vote against a deal as he did back in June.

“Unless we have a deal that controls spending, I’m absolutely, positively, undeniably no again — we have to protect our next generation,” he told Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird.

The text of the continuing resolution Congress passed Saturday to avert a government shutdown was published just a few hours earlier, and it’s unclear how Scott would have voted on that specific measure.

ABC News has reached out to Scott for comment; the campaign has not responded.

It’s not the first time Scott has missed a Senate floor vote.

Recently, he missed the confirmation of Gen. Charles Q. Brown to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — the highest ranking general in the military.

In June, he was the only senator to miss the confirmation of civil rights lawyer Dale Ho as a federal judge. Since Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., sided with Republicans, Scott’s presence could have forced Vice President Kamala Harris to break a 50-50 tie.

Although none of the votes he has missed have had an influence on the final result, the public is losing insight on how Scott would approach key issues as president.

This cycle is unlike others when a handful of senators have run for president.

In 2015, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., should be “showing up to work,” but Rubio wasn’t the only candidate that election cycle susceptible to attacks for missing senate votes: Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Ted Cruz, R-Tx., were a part of the same club. This cycle, Scott shoulders the burden alone.

To sway voters, frequent retail politicking is required in the early-voting states, and day-to-day life on the campaign trail can be brutal for anyone without the added pressures of a day job.

Missing key votes is to be expected while senators are on the trail.

According to data from then-Sen. Barack Obama missed nearly 89.4% of Senate floor votes a year out from the 2008 general election. Former Sens. Hillary Clinton missed 83.5% during her 2008 presidential run, and Rubio missed 90% a year out from the 2016 election in which he ran.

Scott, who is planning a stop in Dallas, Texas, Tuesday, just spent the week in California following the second Republican presidential debate raising money in San Francisco at a fundraiser where tickets were up to $8,300 per person. He hopes the fundraising bolsters his campaign, which has hovered in the single digits since he joined the race back in May, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.

The Oct. 15 deadline for 2024 presidential candidates to file their third-quarter campaign finance reports is swiftly approaching. There is a push to up fundraising ahead of Sept. 30, the same day as the government shutdown deadline, which was the last day to make it into the report.

Congress will again get a chance to vote to pass a budget in 45 days on Nov. 17 — that’s nearly two months out from the Iowa caucuses and an important time to be on the campaign trail.

If Congress fails to reach a budget agreement by that deadline, the government would shut down. Past shutdowns have lasted as long as 35 days — that’s weeks off the campaign trail during which Scott could see himself stuck in D.C.

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