Why South Carolina special election is no big deal
With a quirky cast of characters, the special election in South Carolina for a seat in the US House is more idiosyncratic than most – but it's still likely to go Republican.
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No matter which Republican comes out on top, could Colbert Busch win in deeply Republican territory?Skip to next paragraph
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At first glance, it looks like a long shot. Mitt Romney carried the district with nearly 6 in 10 voters, and Sanford’s first-place showing in the first round of the GOP primary saw him pull in nearly 20,000 votes – more than Colbert Busch’s near-unanimous 15,700 votes.
Sanford represented the district for six years in the 1990s before his eventual governorship and fall from grace.
The last member to represent the district was now-Sen. Tim Scott (R) – a member so deeply imbued with the slash-spending ethos of the tea party that he was tapped to replace the movement’s godfather, Jim DeMint, when Mr. DeMint left the Senate for the presidency of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
That sort of pedigree doesn’t exactly scream “Democratic takeover opportunity.”
But while a GOP win is the projection from professional election-watchers in D.C., there’s also reason to foresee an upset. First, while Sanford has the name recognition and money to win the race, he also has loads of political baggage.
Also, some analysts have suggested the district may have shades of northern Virginia or the North Carolina Research Triangle: A “gentle-ification” and potential political moderation, due to an influx of skilled and highly educated workers, could help a centrist Democrat.
Colbert Busch, no fundraising slouch herself thanks in part to her brother’s celebrity, has internal polling and one poll from liberal-leaning pollster Public Policy Polling placing her neck-and-neck with Sanford and either tied or ahead of Bostic.
And she could get help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is watching the district “very carefully,” DCCC chairman Steve Israel of New York told Politico’s Mike Allen on March 20.
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