Elections will be held in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., today. Find out what's on your ballot!

Battle for nomination continues in South Carolina's 1st district

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

April 1, 2013

South Carolina

By Jennifer Springer

Charleston, South Carolina: Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) will continue his long-fought attempt to re-enter public service tomorrow, advancing to the Republican primary runoff in the 1st Congressional District special election where he will face challenger Curtis Bostic, an ally of former incumbent Tim Scott (R).[1]

Voters will select which candidate advances as the Republican nominee in the election to fill the seat left empty following the appointment of Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate.[2] Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to replace Jim DeMint (R). DeMint decided to resign and head the conservative Heritage Foundation beginning in January 2013.[3] Polls will be open from 7am to 7pm.[4]

Eighteen candidates, including two Democratic candidates and 16 Republican candidates, went head to head the in primary elections on March 19.[5] Sanford beat Bostic decisively in the primary, but failed to get the 50 percent required to avoid a runoff.[1][6]

Sanford was able to secure the largest percentage of the votes, slightly more than a third of the overall vote total, among the Republican candidates, but was unable to gain the majority required in order to win the nomination.[5] Bostic had about 13.32 percent and Grooms earned about 12.40 percent.[7]

The narrow margin between second and third place winners Curtis Bostic and Larry Grooms also necessitated an automatic recount. On March 20, Grooms indicated that he would no longer be in the running for the seat, and he suspended his campaign.[8][9]

The most recent campaign finance filings available for either candidate were from prior to the primary, dated March 13, and showed Sanford with a wide lead, though neither man raised much money in the two-weeks between the primary and the runoff tomororw. Sanford reportedly raised just $78,521 and Bostic raised just $55,205, which included $50,000 he loaned his campaign.[1]

The winner of the runoff will face Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, sister to The Colbert Report host, Stephen Colbert, and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt.[10][11]The general election is scheduled for May 7, 2013.[12] The general election race is expected to be tough for any Democrat. The Charleston-area seat has been a Republican stronghold for decades, and continues to lean Republican.[13][14] The last Democratic candidate elected was Mendel Jackson Davis in 1978.[15]

In a look at the last 11 primary runoff elections in South Carolina since 1998, the Washington Post found that in only 7 out of the 11 elections, or approximately 64% of the time, the top winner in the primary also won the runoff election.[16] Sanford's first House election in 1994 was one instance of a second place primary winner coming from behind to win the nomination in the runoff election.[16]

Some speculate on what effect the "increasingly rancorous Republican primary" will have on the eventual nominee heading into the May 7 general election, and whether it might be a slight advantage to Colbert-Busch.[17]

See also

Ballotpedia News


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Open Secrets, "Sanford Holds Financial Lead In South Carolina Runoff Race" accessed March 30, 2013
  2. The Republic, "Sanford's hopes of a political comeback rest with voters this week" accessed March 17, 2013
  3. The Washington Post, "Gov. Nikki Haley to fill DeMint’s seat by appointment," December 6, 2012
  4. SC Votes, "South Carolina Voting Information Page" accessed March 18, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 SC Votes, "April 19, 2013 Primary Special Election" accessed April 19, 2013
  6. NCSL "Primary Runoffs" accessed April 17, 2013
  7. Reuters, "Sanford advances in South Carolina primary for House seat: TV" accessed April 19, 2013
  8. Politico, "Larry Grooms drops out of South Carolina House race" accessed March 25, 2013
  9. Washington Post, "Grooms bows out in South Carolina" accessed March 22, 2013
  10. Post and Courrier, "Former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum backs Curtis Bostic" accessed March 27, 2013
  11. Politico, "No joke: Stephen Colbert’s sister plans House bid," January 18, 2013
  12. South Carolina Republican Party Website, "1st Congressional Special Election details set," accessed January 3, 2013
  13. MSNBC "Elizabeth Colbert Busch wedged in crowded special election race" accessed April 17, 2013
  14. Salon.com, "Ted Turner’s son vying in SC congressional primary," January 23, 2013
  15. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Davis, Medel Jackson, (1942-2007)," accessed January 28, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 Washington Post, "Mark Sanford’s 1st-place finish doesn’t guarantee a runoff win, history shows" accessed March 21, 2013
  17. Politico, "Mark Sanford advances to runoff" accessed April 19, 2013