Tags: Curtis Bostic

The Sanford-Bostic Showdown in South Carolina


Yesterday’s Jolt offered my take on the GOP House runoff between Mark Sanford, the former governor infamous for his “Appalachian Trail” hike, and former Charleston County council member Curtis Bostic.

I spent last week in Hilton Head, which is in South Carolina’s first congressional district; polls opened a half-hour ago, and close at 7 p.m. tonight.

(Put aside your worries of Democratic mischief-making; if you voted in the Democratic primary two weeks ago, you’re not allowed to vote in the Republican runoff.)

The Sanford campaign ran an ad in Sunday’s Island Packet — a lengthy thanks to the district for the honor of asking for their vote, a reminder of the Cato Institute’s praise of his fiscally conservative ways, and oh yes, a rather large photo of Sanford and his sons — a not-too-subtle reminder that, “Hey, I’ve tried to put things right with my family as best I can.”

I’ve chatted with a couple of active Republican and Tea Party activists down here. If Sanford is the nominee, a certain number of Republicans won’t vote for him, citing the 2009 scandal and sense that Sanford embarrassed the state by traveling to Argentina and not telling anyone. (The affair is considered much less of an issue than his leaving the state under false pretenses.) Very few of those folks feel strongly enough about Sanford to vote for Elizabeth Colbert-Busch; they’ll just stay home.

Of course, if Bostic is the nominee, a certain number of Republicans will stay home as well. No doubt, Bostic has two key bases of support in evangelical Christians and home schoolers. As one Beaufort County resident put it to me, “I’m hearing folks saying, ‘my preacher says I should vote for him.’” The problem is breaking beyond that base, and branching out support beyond the Charleston suburbs into Beaufort County, into the retiree-heavy precincts along Route 278 and on Hilton Head Island. Bostic’s candidacy is pretty clearly built around his religious identity — he’s described himself as a Creationist — and that’s not quite the brand of conservatism that traditionally sells in this district. If last week’s Public Policy Polling survey is to be believed, it’s almost a wash when it comes to which candidate can unify the party: “Sanford (76%) and Bostic (72%) are both earning less than 80% of the GOP vote.”

The smart money is on Sanford winning, although Bostic could keep it close. PPP has Sanford ahead 53 percent to 40 percent, as of a week ago. The former governor starts with a base of about 20,000 votes who voted for him in the initial primary; almost all of those voters can be counted on to show up Tuesday, while Bostic starts from a base of about 7,000. There are about 22,000 Republicans who voted for some other candidate in the primary.

The DCCC is going to dump a ton of effort into this race either way (although not necessarily money, as they’ll probably bet that Elizabeth Colbert-Busch will be able to raise money through her famous brother’s endorsement). If they win, or even if it’s close, they can brag that they’ve managed to win a House race in South Carolina. Republican activists are a little nervous down here; they know that while this is a Republican district, it is one where Obama took about 40 percent of the vote in 2012. Normally, the lower-turnout special election should benefit the Republican. But with Colbert talking up his sister, and perhaps the national spotlight on a potential Sanford comeback, turnout could be considerably higher.

Of course, if Elizabeth Colbert-Busch’s brother had never made it big, no one would be arguing she belongs in the U.S. Congress. Her bio page features three pictures of her brother and four of her.

Tags: Curtis Bostic , Elizabeth Colbert-Busch , Mark Sanford

Sanford, Bostic to Debate in Hilton Head April 1


Tommy Hatfield, organizer of the  Hilton Head Island First Monday Lunch Group, informs me that Mark Sanford and Curtis Bostic will attend a debate at their next meeting, held April 1 at Aunt Chiladas Restaurant in Hilton Head.

The Republican Primary runoff will be held the next day.

In other news, I’m reliably informed by sources within my family that Richard Geraghty, former president of the Hilton Head Island Republican Club, will be formally endorsing Sanford. 

Dad’s endorsing; I’m not, nor am I registered to vote in South Carolina. But if you feel that is worth keeping in mind when considering Campaign Spot coverage of this race, go ahead.

Tags: Curtis Bostic , Mark Sanford

SuperPAC Poll, Pre-Primary: Sanford 49, Bostic 36


In today’s Hilton Head Island Packet:

A new poll by newly formed S.C. super PAC, Conservative Solutions, shows Sanford as a shoo-in.

Its survey of likely voters on Saturday and Sunday indicates that in a head-to-head race, Sanford would take nearly 49 percent and Bostic about 36 percent. Nearly 15 percent are undecided, according to the survey, which has a 5 percent margin of error. Grooms’ strongholds would also favor Sanford, particularly Berkeley County, the survey shows.

“If the results hold true, Mark Sanford will fill Tim Scott’s congressional seat,” said Luke Byars, a longtime S.C. Republican strategist hired to do the survey. “Sanford’s back-to-the-basic message of restoring fiscal sanity to Washington is working.”

The Conservative Solutions PAC filed papers with the Federal Election Commission on February 4. Byars told the Packet that the PAC’s purpose is to support conservative candidates, and that it has not donated money to any candidate to date.

Keep in mind, this poll was conducted before the primary, so when respondents were asked about the Sanford-Bostic matchup, it was theoretical.

Tags: Curtis Bostic , Mark Sanford

In South Carolina, the Statewide Candidate Beat the Local Ones


Some Republicans outside South Carolina’s First Congressional District are reacting to Mark Sanford’s first-place, runoff-securing finish in yesterday’s primary with disbelief and horror.

Robert Stacy McCain wonders how much support will be thrown behind Curtis Bostic, the other Republican candidate to qualify for the runoff.

The Sanford finish shouldn’t be that surprising. Out of 16 Republican candidates, fifteen would be considered local or regional figures, and fourteen of those had bases of support in the part of the district closer to Charleston. In short, you had a slew of regional figures running against a statewide (or arguably national) figure. The runoff will match up the best-performing regional figure against that statewide figure, a tall order for Bostic.

The short version is that Bostic needs to pick up support in the Low Country, the portion of the district in Beaufort County that includes Hilton Head Island and the slew of communities that have sprung up along Route 278.

The total turnout in yesterday’s primary was 53,657, divided among the entirety or portions of five counties: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, and Dorchcester. (Only a tiny sliver of Colleton County is within the district.) For perspective, Charleston provided 40.9 percent of the Republican primary vote yesterday, Beaufort 22 percent, Berkeley 20.7 percent, Dorchester 15 percent, and Colleton less than one percent.

Sanford won all of those counties except Beaufort, where he won 3,570 votes to State Rep. Andy Patrick’s 3,639 votes. (Unfortunately for Patrick, he couldn’t get more than 67 votes in any other county.) Sanford’s best county was Charleston, at 40.8 percent, and his worst was Beaufort, with 29.4 percent. Eight years in the governor’s mansion help build a lot of connections, even with an embarrassing personal scandal.

Bostic did fairly well in the northern counties — 18.4 percent in Dorchester, 15.9 percent in Berkeley, 13 percent in Charleston – but he won only 8 percent in Beaufort. (He only got 6 percent in Colleton, but again the county is only nominally represented in this district; there were only 230 votes cast in that county yesterday.)

Bostic is likely to have a big financial hurdle to overcome as well. Through February 27, Bostic raised $76,510 and spent $117,072 on his House bid; in that same period, Sanford raised $334,397 and spent $90,342.

Democrats are likely to convince themselves that Elizabeth Colbert-Busch will have a real shot against Sanford, by bringing out women voters and hammering Sanford on his Argentinian trip. But Teddy Turner pursued Sanford with absolutely brutal ads, and we see how effective that turned out in the primary. And the district is a very GOP-leaning one; yesterday, 3.2 Republicans voted for every Democrat.

Tags: Andy Patrick , Curtis Bostic , Mark Sanford

Sanford, Bostic Face Two-Week Battle in Runoff


In South Carolina, former governor Mark Sanford and former Charleston County Council Curtis Bostic will compete in a runoff election for the next two weeks.

The winner will take on Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who won the Democratic primary.

Sanford begins as the heavy favorite, having won 19,812 votes, or nearly 37 percent of the vote; Bostic won 7,149 votes, or 13.3 percent. Larry Grooms, finished third with 12.4 percent. (He conceded this morning.) Teddy Turner, the son of mogul Ted Turner, finished with 7.8 percent.

How central was Beaufort County to the bid of State Rep. Andy Patrick? He received 3,776 votes, good for fifth place; his home county provided 3,639 of them.

And suddenly, you can hear the Washington conventional wisdom shifting:



Jason Miller, one of Sanford’s longtime aides, Tweeted out this photo of Sanford at his election night event last evening. Notice the former governor’s sons behind him, not-so-subtly suggesting to viewers that his family life is on the mend from the bad times of a few years ago.

UPDATE: This morning, Republican Elizabeth Moffly, who received 529 votes or just under one percent, announced she was endorsing Sanford.

Tags: Curtis Bostic , Elizabeth Colbert-Busch , Mark Sanford

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