On May 7th, voters in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District will elect a successor to former Rep. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who was elevated earlier this year to the Senate. Former Gov. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has the edge in the Republican-leaning district, but Elizabeth Colbert Bush, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, is mounting a high-profile challenge. Her victory would put Democrats one step closer to retaking the House and returning Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker.
In normal circumstances, the 1st District would be out of reach of Democrats. In the March primary almost 60,000 voted in the GOP primary while just over 15,000 voted in the Dem primary. Mitt Romney won the district with more than 60% of the vote. The circumstances surrounding next month’s election, however, are far from normal.
Personal indiscretions in his past have tarnished Sanford’s otherwise exemplary record. There is concern among some in the GOP that some strong social conservatives may sit out the race as a result. Colbert Busch, meanwhile, benefits from famous brother, getting priceless earned media coverage and tapping into donors nationwide.
She has also tried to project moderate positions on the budget and ObamaCare. She is both against tax increases now, but for them in the future. She is both for certain provisions in ObamaCare and against others. While she talks about making changes to ObamaCare, she is in favor of its full implementation in current form.
On other, lesser issues, however, she is a true progressive. She supports more gun control, amnesty for illegal immigrants, gay marriage and abortion. She wants to raise the debt ceiling and believes government spending is a critical “investment” necessary to grow the economy.
The most important vote a member of Congress makes, however, is for Speaker. Who controls the House defines broadly the legislative and policy direction of the country. When the Democrats last controlled the House, they enacted broad, progressive policies that led to a vast expansion of government. Were they to take control again, these policies, and others, would be cemented into the political landscape.
If Colbert Busch wins next month, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will be one step closer to achieving this goal.