The move would mean the Senate seat would still be held by a prominent tea partier, the source said, and would also give Haley and the GOP a chance to make history.
"It would be historic for an Indian American governor from the Deep South to appoint an African American to the U.S. Senate," the official said. "I think it's highly unlikely she would appoint a placeholder. There are too many critical votes coming in the next 24 months. Scott and DeMint are lock step on the issues."
"Scott is DeMint's choice," the source added.
South Carolina is dominated by Republicans, and the chance for an appointment to an open Senate seat could mean a lot of jockeying for Haley's favor.
"All the Republicans who have trashed Nikki Haley now have to beg for her attention," the source said.