South Carolina Elections: Does Colbert-Busch Have a Chance?


In South Carolina, a special general election will be held on May 7 to fill the 1st Congressional District vacancy left by the appointment of Representative Tim Scott (R) to the United States Senate. The election candidates are Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (D), Mark Sanford (R), and Eugene Platt (G).

Colbert-Busch, older sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, serves as the director of sales and marketing at Clemson University and previously held a similar position at Orient Overseas Container Line. Politically, Colbert-Busch is both pro-choice and in favor of marriage equality. The general election is expected to be tough for Colbert-Busch, as the Charleston-area seat has been a Republican stronghold for decades and continues to lean this way. However, early indicators suggest that the race between Colbert-Busch and Mark Sanford will be competitive. Many have speculated that Sanford’s team will find it difficult to bewilder Colbert-Busch in the competition for dollars, as her brother, Stephen Colbert, is pulling out all the stops to raise cash for his older sis.   

Sanford, the Republican candidate, was governor of South Carolina from 2003 until 2011. Sanford is seen as the front runner because of his name recognition and the $120,000 he has stored in an old campaign account. He is also known for his ability to fundraise quickly, giving him a significant advantage on the field. This is also Sanford’s former seat in the House of Representatives, which he held for three terms prior to being elected governor. Another favorable characteristic of the election for Sanford? The district leans Republican. The last Democratic candidate elected was Mendel Jackson in 1978.

However, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) made an announcement earlier this week that it would spend no money to help Sanford win the May 7 general election. Republicans said that the news of Jenny Sanford's trespassing complaint caught them off guard and that they worried of future damaging displays of behavior within Sanford's personal life that could be revealed in the coming weeks. The NRCC's announcement apparently set off a chain reaction, as other outside groups also announced that they would be pulling the plug on their support for Sanford. In light of this news, many believe that Colbert-Busch has a real chance of shaking Sanford down.