Monday, March 18, 2013

South Carolina's Special Election

South Carolina’s special election
On Tuesday, the 1st District in South Carolina will hold their primaries for the special election to replace former Congressman and current Senator Tim Scott.  The Democratic primary is basically sewn up at this point, Elizabeth Colbert Busch is poised to win the Democratic nomination.  Colbert Busch has a famous brother in Stephen Colbert.  Thanks to her brother’s fame, she has gotten some media attention and has been a good fundraiser.  She only has one opponent in the Democratic primary, who is Ben Frasier, who is viewed as an also-ran. 
The Republican primary is where most of the attention is being focused.  Former Governor Mark Sanford is trying to make a political comeback by becoming a Congressman.  Sanford is hailing himself as the most Conservative of the various candidates.  Sanford has not been hiking in Appalachia recently and appears to be a serious force in this election.  He is running against 15 other Republicans who are trying to get the nomination.  Because of the large field, it is unlikely that even someone as recognized as Sanford will get more than 50% of the vote.  This will force a runoff election in April before the general election in May.  Sanford is the prohibitive favorite for the Republican nomination, but who might come in 2nd place for the runoff? 
There are 5 candidates who appear to be serious challengers. 
1. Chip Limehouse- Limehouse is well known in Charleston because his family owns several hotels, a real estate company, and several other businesses.  He has also served in the state House since 1995 representing much of the Northern part of the district.  Limehouse has run a very aggressive television ad campaign and has spent more on the campaign than any other candidates, approximately $600,000. Limehouse was endorsed by another former governor of South Carolina, Jim Edwards.
2. Teddy Turner- Turner the son of Ted Turner and stepson of actress Jane Fonda is going against his liberal father’s wishes by being a Republican.  Turner, though, is running as the political outsider.  As the only top-tier candidate who has not held elected office so he does not have the traditional support.  Turner has had to run more ads than the other candidates and has spent about $350,000 of his own money on the campaign.  Turner got in trouble with the police in 2006 when he kicked in a door when his estranged wife wouldn’t answer it.
3. Curtis Bostic- Bostic is a former marine who mainly appeals to the evangelical Christian community and the home school community.  I don’t know why the National Journal said this.  Is there a large population of home schoolers in South Carolina?  I am now curious.  Hold on.  I can’t find the percentages.  But apparently, there are home school co-ops that you can join.  Bostic has hosted three different Christian radio talk shows in Charleston over the last 15 years.  Bostic doesn’t have much money to spend on the campaign and has primarily been spending time on getting the evangelical voters out to vote for him.  He also doesn’t live in the district, which will be a deterrent to some people.
4. Larry Grooms- he has been a member of the state’s Senate since 1997.  Grooms is running on basically the Tea Party ticket and has been touting his business acumen.  Apparently, he and his wife started a convenience store and grew it to a chain.  He has been mentioning his positions on same-sex marriage and the sanctity of life to compete with Bostic for the evangelical vote.
5. John Kuhn- he was in the State Senate and was defeated in part because of Mark Sanford’s wife’s contribution to his opponent.  Kuhn took out a loan of $500,000 to help support his campaign.  He has fairly high name recognition in Charleston because of his time in the State’s Senate and his time as an attorney.
I imagine that Sanford won’t get 50% of the vote which would trigger a run-off.  My predictions are as follows:
Elizabeth Colbert Busch: >65%
Ben Frasier: ~30%
Mark Sanford: 33%
Larry Grooms: 17%
John Kuhn: 16%
Curtis Bostic: 11%
Teddy Turner: 10%
Chip Limehouse: 8%
Others: ~5%
I doubt I’ll be right on the percentages, but I think Grooms has a good shot of finishing 2nd because I think it will be a lower voter turnout which will help Grooms and Bostic a little bit.

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