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Sanford defeats Colbert-Busch for 1st district seat

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May 7, 2013

South Carolina

By Jennifer Springer

Charleston, South Carolina: Mark Sanford, the former Republican Governor of South Carolina, revived his scandal-scarred political career in the special election for the 1st district seat.[1] Sanford defeated Green Party candidate Eugene Platt and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert-Busch in the general election to decide the vacant seat.

Colbert-Busch, the sister of Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert, is a college administrator and held no previous political experience prior to the election.[2][3]

Colbert-Busch had briefly led Sanford in the polls, increasing hopes among some voters that a Democrat would, for the first time in more than 30 years, represent the coastal district that includes Charleston.[2] The general election race was expected to be tough for any Democrat. The Charleston-area seat has been a Republican stronghold for decades and continues to lean Republican.[4][5] The last Democratic candidate elected was Mendel Jackson Davis in 1978.[6]

Three weeks prior to the special election, reports surfaced that Sanford’s ex-wife had filed a court complaint alleging he was in her house without permission in violation of their divorce decree, leading the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) to pull its support from the campaign.[1] Despite losing national support from the NRCC, Sanford picked up endorsements from Rand Paul, Ron Paul, South Carolina senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.[7][8][9][10][11][12][1]

Sanford successfully held onto his political record of having never lost a race in three runs for Congress and two for governor.[1] He replaces former Rep. Tim Scott (R), who was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to serve out the Senate term of Jim DeMint.[13]


U.S. House, South Carolina District 1 General Special Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMark Sanford 54% 77,600
     Democratic Elizabeth Colbert-Busch 45.2% 64,961
     Green Eugene Platt 0.5% 690
     N/A Write-in 0.3% 384
Total Votes 143,635
Source: South Carolina Election Board, "Official Special Election Results"

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