The South Carolina Race

From “Behind Mark Sanford’s turnaround,” Alex Isenstadt, Politico*:

“In Colbert Busch, Sanford was running against a rookie opponent who made some rookie mistakes. While the former governor barnstormed the district, Colbert Busch seemed to be in hiding. She rarely held public events — and when she did, she was sometimes in a hurry to leave.

“At a Chamber of Commerce forum last week, the Democrat delivered four minutes of remarks and was then hustled out of the room by a team of handlers. As baffled reporters trailed, Colbert Busch made a beeline for the parking lot.

“For a still largely unknown candidate who needed to introduce herself to voters, it was a head-scratcher of a moment.

“’I’ve never seen a candidate sprint like that,’ one reporter said at the time.

“Though she turned in a strong performance in the sole debate she agreed to, at other times Colbert Busch had difficulty articulating her positions. Any Democrat running in a conservative district has to thread the needle when it comes to talking about issues, but Colbert Busch had particular trouble. Asked in a CNN interview on Tuesday whether she would support the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill, she struggled to come up with an answer.”

Although Colbert Busch ultimately lost by about nine points, a couple of weeks ago, she seemed to have a nine-point lead.  So she decided to coast and not take any risks.  But as a newcomer and a Dem in a GOP district, she had to reassure voters that she would respect and represent their views and she had to do it with policy specifics.  Certainly House Dem leadership would have given her a pass to vote against them more often than other Dems.  She needed to make that abundantly clear, and to specify precisely where she would differ from her party.  Her vagueness really cost her and allowed Sanford to portray her as way too liberal for the district, as Nancy Pelosi’s twin.  She had to run against both Sanford and Pelosi. 

You don’t win by hiding and ducking.  If she’d presented herself aggressively and consistently as a conservative Dem who would sometimes subordinate both her own and her party’s positions to honor the wishes of her district, she would have had a better shot.  I’m thinking here of Rudy Giuliani’s second run for mayor, after he lost the first time.  He was told he couldn’t win without Upper West Side women, and he couldn’t win Upper West Side women without supporting abortion rights.  So he told them that while he personally opposed abortion, as mayor, he wouldn’t do anything to change or restrict abortion rights in the city. 

Congressmen are known as “Representative.”  Colbert Busch needed to convince South Carolina’s First District that she could be their representative, and she failed.  Maybe it was just a bridge too far for both her and the voters of her district.  

“Hiker” Sanford Now Sprinting to Finish

Chris Cillizza reports* that both Dem and GOP strategists believe that Mark Sanford is gaining momentum in the closing days of his House race against Elizabeth Colbert Busch.  The race is considered a toss up.

To me, it comes down to whether people vote for a human being or a number.  If they view Sanford as a guy who will reliably line up  with the GOP in Congress, basically as a number and not a person,  it makes sense to choose him because he reflects the policy views of the district better than Colbert Busch.  It’s a conservative district, and whatever else he is, Sanford is a conservative.  So Tuesday’s result will depend on whether Charleston-area voters want to send a message about ethics (he used tax $ to fly to Argentina to see his mistress) and morality, or just want to send another vote to the GOP column in the House.

But you can argue that it does no harm to send Colbert Busch for the rest of the term because of the solid GOP House majority.  If you dislike Sanford enough, you can end his political career and send another conservative (maybe even another Sanford — Jenny) to Congress in 2014.

* “Mark Sanford just might win South Carolina seat,” WaPo

It’s 2000 Again in South Carolina

Polls ask your opinion about something.  Push polls try to tell you something, usually something detrimental about a political opponent, in the form of a question.

Back in 2000, after John McCain won the New Hampshire primary, George W. Bush’s campaign was feeling desperate, so they did this push poll in South Carolina — “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”  McCain and his wife Cindy have an adopted daughter, Bridget, from Bangladesh, whom Cindy met while visiting Mother Teresa’s orphanage.  McCain lost South Carolina and the GOP nomination.

So now, with the special election for Congress in South Carolina’s First District this Tuesday, a push poll is asking voters “What you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”

Colbert Busch is of course the Dem running against admitted liar and adulterer Mark Sanford.

I already thought Sanford couldn’t be more of a snake.  Silly me.



Colbert Busch Leading Sanford

A new PPP poll shows Dem Elizabeth Colbert Busch leading former GOP Gov. Mark Sanford by nine points (50 to 41) in the upcoming special election to Congress from South Carolina’s First District.

PPP leans Dem, so this poll may show a wider lead than she really has, but even so, this is a conservative district that Mitt won by 18 points.  A lead of any amount shows how much trouble Sanford is in with the election coming up on May 7.

I think the GOP figures they’ll get rid of Sanford now and Colbert Busch in 2014.

A Low Tolerance for Tacky

Many in the South Carolina GOP don’t care if Mark Sanford loses his House race — in fact they’d prefer it that way.  They felt he should have resigned as governor, if not over the lying and adultery, then over the ethics violations that resulted in a $74,000 fine, the largest in the state’s history.

From their perspective, if Sanford loses, he’s dead politically, and that means more to them than giving up the seat for the rest of the term to the Dem, Elizabeth Colbert Busch.  They don’t need the seat now because the GOP controls the House, and they figure they can take it back in 2014 with someone they like better than Mark Sanford.  Maybe Jenny Sanford…  The power of incumbency once Colbert Busch wins?  Meh…  You can ask Scott Brown about that.  It’s a solid GOP district — Mitt won it by almost 20 points.

Will conservatives flock to the polls to vote for Colbert Busch?  I doubt it.  They’ll just stay home.  They won’t make her win, they’ll let her win.

I knew Sanford’s hubris had gotten the better of him yet again when I saw his mistress up on stage with him the night of his primary victory.  I knew Jenny wouldn’t let that slide.  What I didn’t know at the time, and what really pissed off Jenny, was that Sanford brought two of his sons up on that stage who hadn’t met his mistress before.  Jenny Sanford has a very low tolerance for tacky.

Jenny Sanford could have kept her trespassing claim against Mark quiet till after the election.  He chose to flaunt his mistress, Jenny chose to flaunt his violations of their divorce decree.

Quote of the Day

“I don’t have any thoughts on the race that I am currently interested in sharing with the public and I have no plans to endorse.  I remain completely focused on the four wonderful men in my life [her sons] and happily so.”

Jenny Sanford on whether she endorses her adulterous ex, former Gov. Mark Sanford, in his race for his old House seat against Dem Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

That’s okay, Jenny, we all know you’re voting for Colbert Busch.

Sanford Celebrates with Mistress

Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford won the GOP primary run-off for his old House seat tonight.

That was expected.  The surprise of the night was that his mistress/fiancee, Maria Belen Chapur shared the stage with him at his victory celebration.

Sanford will face Stephen Colbert’s sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, in the general.