Open thread: Mark Sanford vs. Elizabeth Colbert Busch in SC-1 special election; Update: Sanford wins

posted at 6:01 pm on May 7, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

In the final test tonight, the voters of South Carolina’s first Congressional district will decide whether or not to indeed award former and formerly disgraced Republican governor Mark Sanford with another shot at political office, or to act completely out of character and elect Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch to now-Sen. Tim Scott’s former seat. Sanford’s campaign has been almost a comeback-within-a-comeback; the bottom momentarily fell out after revelations surfaced that he violated his divorce settlement by trespassing at his wife’s home earlier this year and national Republicans subsequently decided to leave him to his own devices. He’s since gotten somewhat back on track, however, and although the race is still in tossup territory, it sounds like the wind just might be at his back.

The kicker, I suppose, will really be if enough of the deeply red district’s Republican voters stay home or turn out to cast their ballots for Sanford — whether or not it’s a vote in actual support of Sanford, or simply a vote against a Democrat taking the seat. Says Betsy Woodruff at NRO:

In about 24 hours, we’ll start getting results on one of the most colorful House races in recent memory. A South Carolina GOP insider close to the Sanford campaign tells me that Republicans are hoping for turnout to be between 13 and 19 percent. If turnout is in that window, as it was in the primary, then Sanford will probably have a good night. The same insider says that if African Americans in the district vote at the same rate that they did in the November 2012 elections, “then there will be some troubles.”

She also mentions that, after he cast his vote for himself earlier today, Sanford told reporters that he “won’t run again if he loses tonight. He’s had his shot at redemption, he said, and he won’t take more than one.” …Ahem. I will refrain from comment on that one.

It’s difficult to know what turnout is going to look like until it’s over, and the polls are open until 7 P.M. eastern — you can follow the live results here from Politico, and I’ll update with the winner when it’s announced.

Whichever party wins, the other will have a lot of esplainin’ to do — the Colbert Busch camp because the Democrats have sunk over $1 million into the race for naught, or the Sanford camp on how they could possibly have managed to lose the crimson district. Either way, I’d definitely put this bizarre race down in the “not even a little bit indicative of the 2014 midterms” category.

Update: You can follow the county-by-county results here; they’re already rolling in.

Update: I’m going to hold it in until it’s official, but the Twitters has some thoughts:

Update: Aaand, it’s official: With 226/317 precincts reporting, the AP is calling it for Sanford with 54 percent of the vote.

Update: The comeback is complete. Somewhere, Anthony Weiner is paying attention.

Former Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford revived a scandal-scarred political career by winning back his old congressional seat Tuesday in a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat in three decades.

The comeback was complete when he defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert. With 87 percent of the precincts reporting, Sanford had 54 percent of the vote.

Update: “We gave it a heck of a fight,” says Colbert Busch:

And yet:

“I have a question for y’all: How many of you want to change Washington, D.C.?” Sanford said to cheers from supporters in Charleston, declaring that voters had sent “a message to Washington, D.C., and a messenger to Washington, D.C., on the importance of changing things in that fair city.”

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Or are we just so corrupt and soulless ourselves that we no longer even expect better?

Murf76 on May 7, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Ditto that.
How does one embrace that which we have asked others to reject?

Today anyway,
Ich bin ein Democrat

What is that smell ?

FlaMurph on May 8, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Sanford is a flake for sure. And, there is no good explanation for his behavior, other than men (like me) are suckers for beautiful women.

But, at least we have another vote in the House for fiscal sanity. And, we beat back the progs.

That’s not nothing. If they can have JJ, Jr. and Charlie Rangel, we can have Sanford.

johnboy on May 8, 2013 at 7:59 AM

Well the Dems finalllyyyy have it right, “It really is Busch’s fault!”

el Vaquero on May 8, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Congratulations Mark Sanford!! Isn’t it strange how every Dem kept knocking Sanford’s personal life but not a word came out about Busch being a Jail Bird! That’s right! She was locked up in the 1980s for contempt of court in her divorce case. Isn’t it ironic that a person seeking to become a member of the ‘Ruling Authority’ gets locked up for showing contempt for the same Authority? Thanks to the Obama Media, this fact was not made known!

The only person I know of who made this fact public is radio talk show Host Mike Galagher! Thanks Mike!!

Jersey Dan on May 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

jimgeraghty @jimgeraghty
$1.2 million in donations to Colbert Busch, $929,000 on independent expenditures against Sanford… FLUSH…

Yeah, except the execs and other employees at many media outlets who profit from those ad buys make the vast majority of their political donations right back to dems/libs/proggies.

So instead of FLUSH it’s more like LATHER – RINSE – REPEAT…

Marcola on May 8, 2013 at 11:57 AM

My opposition to Sanford from the get-go stems from my admiration for the man who held this seat before him.

alchemist19 on May 7, 2013 at 9:46 PM

You loved Arthur Ravenel? You’re a strange bird! Arthur was about as conservative as Sen. Lindsey Graham is–but as a House member, that’s not very strong.


I know you’re referring to 2014. But I’m referring to 1992, when a man like Tim Scott was still in his impressionable years, learning from the strongest conservative representative this district had ever had–Mark Sanford.

Y’sll young’uns that think “it’s all about today!” or “it’s all about the Founding Fathers!” fail to realize that there’s been some significant contributions made in the 230+ years since our nations’ founding.

Conservatism didn’t start out conservative. It came into existence as the only way to preserve our founding principles when the progressive engineers tried to run the national train off its tracks.

rwenger43 on May 9, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Not sure if this was already posted, Daily Caller:

People Elizabeth Colbert Busch may actually have a chance of beating

entagor on May 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM