Tomorrow South Carolina Voters Decide Between Colbert's Sister And The Obsessive Sex Fiend
Actually, it's not all of South Carolina. We're talking about SC-01, along the coast, a district that's not as crazy and extremist as the up-country congressional districts where talk of secession is still a hot topic. It's next door to SC-06, into which the legislature managed to gerrymander every conceivable African American in the area. SC-06 gave Obama 70.9% of its vote in November and reelected Jim Clyburn without opposition. Of South Carolina's 6 other--basically all white-- districts Obama went above 40% in only two-- SC-05 (with African-American-majority Fairfield and Lee counties as well as Democratic-leaning Chester and Sumter counties) and SC-01, where Obama actually won Charleston County. Nevertheless, if Colbert Busch wins Tuesday, there would only be three Democrats in Congress representing redder districts: Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), whose district has a PVI of R+12, Nick Rahall (D-WV), whose district has a PVI of R+14, and Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), whose district has a PVI of R+16. SC-01 has a PVI of R+11. The three of them-- particularly the two Blue Dogs, vote with the GOP on crucial roll calls far more frequently than they vote with Democrats. Boehner and Cantor know they can count on Matheson and McIntyre and, to a lesser degree Rahall, whenever push comes to shove. Judging by her campaign statements, Colbert Busch is more likely to fall in around Rahall than McIntyre and Matheson. Unlike them, she's socially liberal-- pro-marriage equality, pro-Choice, pro-immigrant, pro-background checks, for example-- and then goes all GOP when it comes to economic issues. She's made some pretty nasty anti-union statements: “I’m proud to live in and support a right-to-work state" and “This is a right-to-work state and NLRB had no business telling Boeing where they can locate" and she's managed to attack Obama on Chained CPI-- although you might interpret that as backing Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson-- and on Obamacare, which she says needs "an enormous fix," which most progressives also agree with.
Sanford's campaign is all about trying to make voters forget he's a corrupt philanderer and a serial liar and think he's running against Nancy Pelosi. Colbert's sister is no Nancy Pelosi, not by a longshot. Nor is she some backward sleazy Blue Dog, willing to say anything to get elected. Polling hasn't been going her way lately. Late in April-- before the big right-wing money started pouring into the district (as well as the slimy smear campaign), she was clearing pulling away from Sanford and looked like a sure winner. She had a 9% margin and 56% of poll respondents had a favorable opinion of her-- as opposed to Sanford's 56% unfavorable rating. A more recent poll-- though not as reliable as the PPP poll cited above-- shows the race exactly tied, 46-46% with 7% undecided.
If money is going to decide the race, it's likely Colbert Busch will win. The NRCC, embarrassed by Sanford's ethical problems, pulled out and the DCCC and their House Majority PAC have invested very heavily. Colbert Busch outraised Sanford by around $400,000 but she burned through it faster, leaving Sanford with a $30,000 advantage of cash-on-hand in the final week.
Both campaigns had donors-- individuals and PACs-- from a variety of interest group areas, and both saw support from traditional backers of their respective parties. Lawyers and law firms were the top backers of Colbert Busch's campaign, giving her $38,250. She also picked up support from the education industry and industrial unions. Given her famous brother, it's no surprise to see that donors from the TV, movies and music industry chipped in $13,200.The DCCC has chipped in $458,234 (of which $214,849 came in last week) and their SuperPAC, House Majority PAC put in another $425,851 (including $165,027 last week). Last week a right-wing anti-Choice "women's" group, Independent Women's Voice put down $96,584 slamming Colbert Busch (ad below), a candidate who is viewed with disgust and contempt by most women, regardless of political leanings. And FreedomWorks kicked down $1,614 last week. In teh last couple of days, wealthy Republicans have helped Sanford close the money gap and the last minute poll by PPP shows the race even-- with Sanford momentum.
Sanford received his greatest support from the securities and investment industry, which sent his campaign $54,000, followed by the real estate industry, which sent him $51,000.
Besides raising far less money than Colbert-Busch, Sanford is taking a huge hit when it comes to outside spending. According to OpenSecrets.org's profile of the race, outside groups have spent more than $929,000 on independent expenditures against Sanford. Conservative groups have spent only about $15,000 to help him. Meanwhile only about $4,600 has been spent by outside groups attacking Colbert Busch, while $1,500 has been spent upporting her.
PPP's final poll of the special election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District finds a race that's too close to call, with Republican Mark Sanford leading Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch 47-46. The 1 point lead for Sanford represents a 10 point reversal from PPP's poll of the race two weeks ago, when Colbert Busch led by 9 points at 50-41.Alan Grayson (D-FL) asked his own donors to contribute to Colbert Busch's campaign and to support her efforts to beat Sanford. He was relieved she's at least pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, even if they don't see eye to eye on any number of issues. (Grayson, for example, is a major union supporter.) But his feelings are that if there's any chance to beat a Republican with a Democrat, it's worth the effort. "I'm going to ask you to support her campaign because the last thing that we need in the U.S. House of Representatives right now is another Republican. And the thing that we do need is more Democrats. Seventeen more Democrats, to be exact... Let's take back the House."
Sanford has gotten back into the race by nationalizing it and painting Colbert Busch as a liberal. A plurality of voters in the district-- 47%- say they think Colbert Busch is a liberal compared to 43% who characterize her as ideologically 'about right.' Colbert Busch's favorability rating has dropped a net 19 points compared to 2 weeks ago, from +25 then at 56/31 to +6 now at 50/44.
While Colbert Busch is seen as too liberal, 48% of voters think that Sanford's views are 'about right' on the issues compared to just 38% who see him as too conservative. Sanford's also seen some repair to his image over the course of the campaign. Although he's still unpopular, sporting a -11 net favorability rating at 43/54, that's up a net 13 points from our first poll in March when he was at 34/58.