theGrio’s 100: Rick Wade, taking on Tim Scott in South Carolina

Who is Rick Wade?

The veteran political operative, who ran Obama’s black vote program in 2008 and then worked in the Commerce Department in the administration, is now trying to become a politician in his own right. He is running against Sen. Tim Scott in South Carolina, setting up one of the first-ever races for a U.S. Senate seat in which both parties’ nominees is an African-American.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

He is a decided underdog against Scott because South Carolina is a traditionally Republican state. But Wade knows the state well, having worked as an aide in the state legislature and the governor’s office and then helped Obama turn out the black vote there in 2008.

“I think my story will resonate very well, not just with African Americans but with people across the state,” he told theGrio last year in an interview.

What’s next for Wade?

He will spend the year raising money and hitting the campaign trail. Scott is an incumbent, but he has one disadvantage: he has never won statewide before, having been appointed to the seat in 2012 after then-Sen. Jim DeMint resigned.

On the other hand, Scott can highlight Wade’s work with President Obama, who is not popular in South Carolina.