South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) disputed reports on Tuesday that she had narrowed her choice to replace outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to a list of five potential candidates.
CNN's Peter Hamby first reported on a finalized shortlist, citing discussions with an unnamed source close to Haley:
Her final choices for the seat are Rep. Tim Scott, Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford and Catherine Templeton, a conservative attorney chosen by Haley to head the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
But Haley later said CNN's report was incorrect. According to Charles Behre of the Charleston Post and Courier, the governor said that only her husband knows the names on the actual list.
DeMint announced last week that he'd be departing the Senate in the new year to assume the role of president at the conservative Heritage Foundation, touching off immediate speculation about whom Haley would select to fill his seat.
Scott, the first black Republican elected to office in South Carolina since Reconstruction, is reportedly DeMint's favored selection. CNN reports that the other candidates have all "expressed interest" in the seat.
Sanford, the ex-wife of former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, reportedly told the Columbia Free-Times that she'd consider serving in the Senate and would be "honored" to get the call from Haley.