Tim Scott’s girlfriend Mindy Nose makes stage debut after Republican debate

MIAMI — Sen. Tim Scott spoke longer than any other candidate on the debate stage Wednesday night. But nothing the South Carolina Republican said drew as much attention online as what he did after the event ended.

Shortly after the presidential candidates finished their closing remarks, Scott walked to the end of the stage, greeting a blond woman in light gray pants. He escorted her to the stage and held her close as they smiled together and posed for pictures, while other candidates appeared with their families.

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Reporters and audience members were quick to spot the pair holding hands at one point. Who could she be, they wondered?

The campaign quickly confirmed that she was indeed the girlfriend he had previously hinted at but had never publicly revealed before, giving reporters initially only a first name — Mindy. Soon, online detectives tracked down her social media pages and details about her life. Mindy Noce, according to public records and online information, is a design and renovation manager for a real estate company in the Charleston, SC area, and a mother of three. The campaign confirmed that she is his girlfriend, but declined to share more details.

The moment marked the end — or perhaps the beginning — of speculation about Scott’s relationship status.

Before the debate, Scott said he was dating a Christian woman who agreed with his religious values. Scott previously told The Washington Post that they met through a friend at his church, sharing some colors from their previous dates in the most revealing conversation yet about his recent dating life.

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“I can’t imagine putting her on the campaign trail unless I’m going to marry her,” he said. “I hope it does, to be honest with you.”

His interview with The Post prompted more questions — and headlines like The New York Times’ “Do They Really Care That Tim Scott Isn’t Married?” and the Daily Beast’s “Please Stop The Weird Obsession With Tim Scott’s Love Life.”

Of the major candidates in the Republican race, Scott, 58, is the only one who is single. Voters at times brushed off questions about his relationship status.

Cheryl Soden of Ames, Iowa, who attended a Story County GOP meeting in August where Scott spoke, said, “If you don’t find the one, why do you want to get married?”

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After the debate, reporters surrounded Scott and his team in the spin room — where campaigns send surrogates to promote their performances — some with questions about his debate performance and others with questions about the woman he was seen with. The fascination with Scott’s personal life comes amid a fractious presidential bid in which he failed to gain traction.

But Scott, tight-lipped, gave few details about his romantic relationship, which has sparked gossip in conservative circles.

When asked about it by ABC News, Scott said they had been dating for about a year and she was at his campaign launch event in May. But then he turned the conversation to his run for president.

“The good news is that we continue to have a healthy relationship,” he said. “And I’ll tell you, we have a lot of fun together. Hopefully, as life goes on, we will continue to see our relationship evolve. But more importantly, I think Americans care more about their families than my relationship.

Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

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