I’m not sure why I should be interested in the result of this particular election. One because it’s not my district and I can’t vote in it, and two, because I don’t really think former Governor Mark Sanford will be able to do much good for the conservative cause if he does manage to pull off a victory. But, I surely hate the thought of a Democrat winning this seat, especially an unknown like Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. Kyle Kondik from Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball gives even odds and says this race is a toss-up. He also has a chart showing the results of other recent special elections going back to April 2003;
A former Republican governor of a deeply Republican state is running for a deeply Republican U.S. House seat, but he is best known for claiming to be walking the Appalachian Trail while he was actually visiting his mistress in Argentina, and he has a court date two days after next Tuesday’s special election because he allegedly trespassed on his ex-wife’s property. His Democratic opponent has never run for office and would be totally unknown, except that her brother is one of the nation’s most popular comedians.
They aren’t called special elections for nothing.
The circumstances in the race for South Carolina’s 1st District between ex-Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D), sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, are so odd that the result, no matter what it is, won’t have much predictive value for next year’s midterm. What future race will look like this? But that’s just the thing with special elections: They are all unique in some way, because they are generally not waged on regular election days, they generally have poor turnout, and they come about because the previous occupant of the office either died in office or resigned, oftentimes under duress. No wonder why the Crystal Ball’s Alan Abramowitz has found that “the results of special congressional elections do not accurately predict the results of the subsequent general election.”
Despite Sanford’s troubles and the intervention of the outside Democratic groups, we are calling SC-1 a “toss-up” for now. Our sources tell us that this race is very close, and this is a very Republican seat: In 2012, Mitt Romney won it 58%-40% — that’s six points better than John McCain did in the aforementioned NY-26 district when that seat was contested in 2011
I was an ardent supporter of Sanford when he was Governor of South Carolina and even had visions of him running for the Presidency…until that fateful day when we found out about his ill fated trip to Argentina to see his mistress instead of hiking the Appalachian Trail like he led everyone to believe. I’ve been sour on him ever since.
Of course, if you’re a fan of CNN, you would think Colbert-Busch is almost a shoo-in to win this election. John Avlon of CNN goes against the wisdom of Larry Sabato and says that although Sanford could possibly eke out a win, this election has far reaching implications for future elections;
The idea that Texas, rich in Electoral College votes, could turn into a swing state has preoccupied pundits in recent weeks because it would upend presidential electoral math. A win by Colbert Busch in South Carolina wouldn’t have equal implications, but it could be a canary in the coalmine. And a close analysis of how her campaign defied the odds would be required reading for any Southern Democrats. (Emphasis mine.)
I think regardless of who wins, this election is just a fart in a windstorm and in the next general election, we will have a better selection of conservative candidates to run for the seat. I don’t believe either Sanford or Colbert-Busch will retain the seat in the next election. That’s my prediction.