Mark Sanford Wins GOP Run-Off, Faces Colbert Busch In May

Mark Sanford

Around 8:30 pm eastern time last night, MSNBC declared former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford as the winner of the GOP primary run-off in the state’s 1st District over former city council member Curtis Bostic.

Sanford will now face Democratic nominee and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the general election on May 7th. Early polling has indicated a close race between the two with perhaps a slight edge going to Colbert Busch.

It’s too early to be sure however if her apparent support is merely the result of celebrity by proxy or her message is truly resonating with voters in the 1st District.

Though running as a Democrat it’s obvious she’s aware of the electorate in the area. The 1st district hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since before 1980 and Colbert Busch appears to be reaching out to conservative voters in hopes of changing this trend. On her campaign website she pledges to help small businesses create jobs by lowering taxes and cutting waste—unusual rhetoric for most Democrats but necessary in a Repulblican stronghold like South Carolina if she has any hope of winning.

When it comes to satisfying fiscally conservative voters, few have done it as consistently as Mark Sanford. As National Review’s Deroy Murdock noted recently,

“The National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste both ranked him No. 1 in Congress for fighting to lower taxes and spending. The Cato Institute ranked him as America’s most fiscally conservative governor, in part for eliminating some $1 billion of South Carolina’s red ink. He also cut waiting times at the Department of Motor Vehicles from 66 minutes to 15, showing that lower spending and better services are not mutually exclusive.”

Colbert Busch’s proposal to lower taxes could be attractive to some voters but may not be enough to overtake Sanford in the general election. Corie Whalen of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, (CRS) voiced concerns last week over politicians who claim to oppose raising taxes but show no restraint in deficit spending which she claims is a tax in itself. Though it’s unclear, it’s possible former council member Curtis Bostic’s refusal to sign the CRS pledge to “Reject the Debt” (which emphasizes reducing spending and balancing the budget) could have been a contributing factor in his loss to Sanford who signed the pledge and has always been an opponent of raising taxes.

If this is the case it may prove to be an uphill battle for Colbert Busch who also declined to sign the pledge and has thus far showed no signs of calling for reductions in government spending.

What is undeniable is that the outcome of this race will have major implications in both South Carolina and American politics. D.C. insiders will either begrudingly welcome back a battle-hardened fiscal hawk or Colbert Busch will end a 23 year long drought for the Democratic Party and set the stage for future elections.

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