Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Michelle Nunn, the Elizabeth Colbert Busch of 2014


As noted below, Georgia Democrats are quite excited about Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former senator Sam Nunn, as their standard-bearer in this year’s Senate race. Apparently Nunn will run this year attempting to have no position on Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. After being asked whether she would have voted for Obamacare, Nunn responds, “I wished that we had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation. . . . I think it’s impossible to look back retrospectively and say what would you have done if you were there.”

Let’s put aside her attempt to turn “architect” into a verb.

Really? It’s impossible?

The Morning Joe crowd were unimpressed.

This is reminiscent of Elizabeth Colbert Busch, another woman with a famous relative, running in a heavily Republican corner of the South and attempting to run away from the rest of the party. In 2013, Colbert Busch, sister of the famous television comedian, ran in South Carolina’s first congressional district. Democrats and their allies spent $2 million . . . and Colbert Busch lost by nine points to former governor Mark Sanford. Colbert-Busch flopped in her first national interview, back in late February, offering a barely coherent word salad on pretty basic issues like reducing the debt and entitlement reform. She refused to say whether she would vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House. She didn’t take questions at most of her events; Sanford was eager to do as many debates as possible and she agreed to only one.

Colbert Busch had to run from the word “Democrat,” and had to cite a childhood sighting of John F. Kennedy for the reason she’s in the party. Her “issue-free campaign” was noted in the local press, but the national press seemed blinded by the glamour of being associated with one of their favorite comedians.

We’ll see if Michelle Nunn is any better on the trail. But for now, she’s using the same playbook that Colbert Bush used — and lost using.

UPDATE: Dave Weigel notes that Nunn’s fuller answer to the MSNBC did offer a bit more detail, suggesting adding “a tax credit for small businesses. And I also think we need to repeal the cuts to rural hospitals as a result of our state not expanding Medicaid.” He concludes, “In short, Nunn did dodge the question. But she went into some practiced detail about the ways she wanted to change the law, and she confirmed that she wouldn’t vote for repeal.”

Tags: Michelle Nunn , Elizabeth Colbert Busch

The Name ‘Pelosi,’ the Voldemort of Red House Districts


Today’s Morning Jolt features a preview of the Benghazi hearings, praise for an NR colleague, and then last night’s big news . . . 

This Just In from South Carolina: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Hey, Democrats. You just spent a bundle and lost . . . to Mark Sanford.

The argument that we can’t learn anything about 2014 from an individual special House race is generally true. But Alex Roarty of National Journal — a.k.a. that insider, non-conservative publication that National Review staffers are often mixed up with — repeats my point from yesterday: Democrats put a lot of money and effort into this race, against a Republican candidate they thought was uniquely beatable. (And in fact, he was. But “uniquely beatable” doesn’t always mean you will beat him.)

Now we see all of that Democratic spending gained nothing: $1.2 million in donations to Colbert Busch, more than $929,000 on independent expenditures against Sanford . . . FLUSH!

And there is a lesson for 2014: Mark Sanford managed to overcome the electorate’s wariness about him by emphasizing that a vote for his opponent was a vote for Nancy Pelosi and the Obama agenda. Red-state and red-district Democrats have always had a tough balancing act, emphasizing how they’re not like those other Democrats; Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the end just wasn’t a talented enough candidate to pull that off. (In short, she wasn’t that talented a candidate at all. “The Solyndra of the South,” as Nathan Wurtzel summarized.)

Any remaining red-district Democrats really have to run hard from Pelosi from now until November 2014.

Moe Lane:

This should have gone to the Democrats; but, well, there’s that pesky albatross. May Nancy Pelosi stay House Minority Leader, well, forever. . . . If they can’t win House seats in R districts under these circumstances, they won’t win ‘em under more even ones.

Betsy Woodruff was at the victory party:

There will be lots of analysis in the days to come about what this election means, but one thing isn’t up for debate: Mark Sanford knows how to campaign, and his win here is due at least in part to his tireless canvassing and cheerful willingness to ask for the vote of anyone who would listen to him.

When he arrived at the victory party, Sanford was in full-on retail-politics mode. I followed the former governor on the campaign trail the day before the election and wrote about his perpetual handshaking and small-talking. Winning the election doesn’t seem to have tempered his pace. When he arrives at the party, he laps around the front of the building (which, a server tells me, is more crowded than it’s ever been), posing for pictures and hugging supporters.

Two things are different from the day before, though: First, he’s wearing a suit instead of stained khakis and busted-up shoes, and actually looks like someone who might belong in the halls of the Capitol. And second, he’s got his oldest son, Marshall, in tow. He looks around for his son every minute or two — when he loses sight of him, he asks the nearest staffer, “Where’d Marshall go?” and whenever he gets a chance, he introduces the 20-year-old to supporters who haven’t met him.

Mark Sanford’s sister, Sarah Sanford Rauch, isn’t far behind. She’s one of his veteran campaign volunteers, and she’s outspoken about her support for her embattled brother. I ask her how she feels.

“Exhausted,” she tells me. “It’s the toughest race I’ve ever been in. I’ve helped out on a bunch of races, but this is the toughest, by far.”

“You wake up every morning and you look at the newspaper and you wait to see what anvil is getting dropped on your head each day,” she adds.

Somebody else is feeling the headache this morning.

In other words, while Pelosi has always had a handful of members who were likely to stray, she can expect even less agreement from members like Jim Matheson of Utah (R+16), Nick Rahall of West Virginia (R+14), Mike McIntyre of North Carolina (R+12), John Barrow of Georgia (R+9), and Collin Peterson of Minnesota (R+6) — and perhaps Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona (R+4), Patrick Murphy of Florida (R+3), Pete Gallego of Texas (R+3), and Ron Barber of Arizona (R+3). Because if invoking Pelosi was key to Sanford overcoming the well-funded Colbert Busch, imagine how it will play in districts where the Republican doesn’t have Sanford’s baggage?

Tags: Mark Sanford , Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Nancy Pelosi , House Democrats , House Republicans

Mark Sanford's 10-Event Campaigning Days


If Mark Sanford succeeds in his improbable comeback tomorrow, a lot of people will be asking, “How did he do it?” A serious answer will be: “He just outworked his opponent.”

Earlier today, Dave Weigel tweeted, “Sanford has 5 campaign stops today — one avail already — before Colbert Busch’s first event.” Sanford has eleven public events scheduled today; Colbert Busch has five.

The week of April 22, he did 15 public events. She did six in those five days, according to her campaign’s web site. He did three public events Wednesday; she did one. He did three public events Thursday; she did none. He did ten events public Saturday, she did five.

He did take Sunday off; she did three events that day.

Sanford’s campaign just announced he’s doing 10 events tomorrow, before his Election Night party:

7:45 AM — Pages Okra Grill, 302 Coleman Blvd, Mt. Pleasant

8:30 AM — Huddle House, 261 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant

9:15 AM — Brown’s Court Bakery, 199 St. Philip Street, Charleston

10 AM — Vote — 75 Calhoun Street, Charleston

11 AM — Pep Boys, 1550 Savannah Highway, West Ashley, Charleston

11:45 AM — Moe’s Southwest Grill, 1812 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., West Ashley, Charleston

12:45 PM — Cookout Restaurant, 8968 University Blvd., North Charleston 29406

1:30PM — Alex’s Restaurant, 309 St. James Avenue, Goose Creek

2:30 PM — Piggly Wiggly, 9616 Highway 78, Suite 1, Ladson

4 PM — Farmer’s Market Mt. Pleasant, Moultrie Middle School, 645 Coleman Boulevard, Mt. Pleasant

7:30 PM — Watch Party — Liberty Tap Room & Grill, 1028 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant

A busy campaign schedule can’t completely change the dynamics of a race, but it certainly can’t hurt, as long as the candidate can keep the energy and enthusiasm up.

Tags: Mark Sanford , Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Colbert Busch: My Vote for Next Speaker Is ‘A Hypothetical’


The editorial board of the Hilton Head, S.C., Island Packet asked Elizabeth Colbert Busch why she ran as a Democrat.

She answered for several minutes, beginning with seeing an “incredible-looking” John Kennedy drive by in a black Lincoln Continental with the top down in 1960 when she was six years old, and how Jackie Kennedy was “such a fierce mother, protecting her children.”

“I’ve always just felt that I was a Democrat — although a fiscally conservative Democrat.”

Her answer didn’t mention President Obama, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, assistant House minority leader and South Carolina representative Jim Clyburn, or any other modern Democratic leader.

Some might argue that today’s Democratic party has a quite different worldview and agenda than the 1960-era John F. Kennedy version.

Asked whether she would vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker, Colbert Busch responds, ”I wouldn’t even be able to vote until 2015. I don’t know who’s going to be on that ballot. Nobody knows who’s going to be on that ballot. But who I will vote for is the person who will be on the ballot. It’s not until 2015 anyway, so it’s kind of a hypothetical question.”

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch

The Sudden Shift in South Carolina’s Polls


This is not what Democrats wanted to or expected to see, the day before South Carolina’s special House election:

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.

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.

A ten-point shift!

Either the Sanford campaign is a bunch of messaging geniuses . . . or perhaps Colbert Busch’s lead was never that high. As our Betsy Woodruff notes, “Representative James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told reporters at the press conference today that internal polling data never gave Colbert Busch more than a 3-point lead.”

Do PPP polls often show the Democrat performing six points better than their internal polling?

The pollster further explains:

The other key development in this race over the last two weeks is that Republicans are returning to the electorate. On our last poll, conducted right after the trespassing charges against Sanford became public, we found that the likely electorate had voted for Mitt Romney by only 5 points in a district that he actually won by 18. That suggested many Republican voters were depressed and planning to stay home. On our final poll we find an electorate that’s Romney +13 — that’s still more Democratic than the turnout from last fall, but it’s a lot better for Sanford than it was a couple weeks ago.

Or perhaps the previous sample just wasn’t a realistic portrait of the likely turnout in this district, even in a special election, and even with these unusually high-profile candidates?

For what it is worth, last week a poll commissioned by Red Racing Horses showed the race tied. So Sanford may have the momentum, but it’s not over until the votes are counted tomorrow night.

Tags: Mark Sanford , Elizabeth Colbert Busch

New Poll Shows Sanford, Colbert Busch Tied


For what it’s worth:

Less than a week before the contentious special election between Mark Sanford (R) and Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (D), a RRH/PMI automated survey of 650 likely voters in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District finds the race as close as can be, with both candidates taking 46 percent of the vote and 7 percent undecided. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 5 percent. . . .

2012 presidential results in the survey were 54% Romney, 41% Obama. This result shows a turnout marginally more Democratic than the turnout in the 2012 presidential election, in which Romney won the seat 58-40. The relatively Democratic electorate suggests somewhat high enthusiasm among Democrats and liberals, and somewhat decreased enthusiasm among conservatives.

The electorate we found was 60% Female and 40% Male. The electorate was weighted to the following racial balance: 79% White, 15% African American, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian, and 3% Other races.

Polling and forecasting turnout in a special election is particularly difficult; the usual low turnout of special elections is likely to be mitigated in this case with two candidates with higher-than-normal profiles, a former governor known for an infamous scandal and the sister of a television comedian. Normally, one could conclude that a currently undecided voter would be unlikely to vote on Tuesday, but this race seems to be anything but normal.

Having said that, it will be interesting if turnout Tuesday really splits 60–40 along gender lines.

The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling will survey the district again this weekend.

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Mark Sanford

South Carolina’s Special Election and the ‘Political-Investor Community’


Over on the homepage, I have an interview with Mark Sanford, getting his sense of the race in South Carolina’s first congressional district, and what’s at stake in the special election:

GERAGHTY: We’ll get the official spending numbers in the near future, but what’s your sense of how badly you’re being outspent? I’ve heard some people say anecdotally they’re seeing four or five ads for Colbert Busch for every one ad for you.

SANFORD: That’s correct; it’s been a four- or five-to-one ratio — which is not what you want in the world of politics.

People are scratching their heads and saying, “Wait a minute, if the Democratic party is willing to put this kind of money into this race, why do they want this seat so badly?” . . . What’s going on here is much larger than the first congressional district. This is the first congressional election since Obama was reelected president of the United States. He has said that he wants to take the Congress in 2014 to ensure his legacy. The reason they’re pouring so much money into this race is that they believe that if they can win here, they can argue to the political-investor community that they can win the other 15 seats that they need to take back the House. There is much more in play than actually meets the eye.

GERAGHTY: The supporters of your runoff-primary rival, Curtis Bostic, are a group of several thousand Republicans who have had the chance to vote for you twice in recent months and who have chosen someone else twice. These are voters who presumably would prefer a conservative candidate to a liberal candidate but who may have some disagreements with you. What’s your approach to winning over these voters?

SANFORD: I’d say my approach is to win them over one by one. I spend a lot of time going out and doing traditional retail politics. We just came out of Hubee D’s, a chicken-finger place west of Ashley. I talk to folks literally from all walks of life. I don’t think there’s any magic formula for reaching those folks, but we’re certainly beginning that process.

Keep in mind, though, Colbert Busch herself said at the debate that she was pro-choice. I don’t think that fits in in any way with those Bostic supporters’ beliefs, either on choice or on a whole range of other issues. Colbert Busch has been largely undefined: She was unwilling to debate for the entire month of the general election, and this is the first change in that. If you’re not certain where someone is, folks will sometimes give you the benefit of the doubt, but that life-focused community of Bostic supporters, I think, were probably paying attention to what she said in the debate. It will travel out anecdotally.

Tags: Mark Sanford , Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Sanford, Colbert Busch Debate; Issues Accidentally Enter House Race


Last night’s debate between Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford aired on C-SPAN. (The video is not embeddable but can be seen here.)

The lead of the Post and Courier’s coverage of the Mark Sanford-Elizabeth Colbert Busch debate includes a revealing word:

The race for Tim Scott’s former congressional seat finally turned to issues Monday, as Republican Mark Sanford and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch met for the first — and probably only — time.

Naturally, this morning the Democrats’ House Majority PAC announces they’ll be running new ads hitting Sanford on the affair.

There are no economic problems. There is no debt. There is no tough decision to be made on how to deal with illegal immigrants, and there is no controversy about gun control. The implementation of Obamacare is going fine. There are no problems beyond our shores, in places like North Korea or Syria, that any voter should spend a moment thinking about. There is only the affair. The affair knows all, the affair sees all, the affair is the answer to all voters’ questions. When the voters in South Carolina’s First Congressional District go to the polls on May 7, they will not see two names on the ballot. They will see only, “Do you like the affair that occurred back in 2009?”

For what it’s worth, Red Racing Horses is conducting a poll in the district, and recently Tweeted, “VERY early unweighted results from the first half-day looking surprisingly good for @MarkSanford. Weighting will change the results dramatically. But back of the envelope calculations and the entire first day results suggest that.poll Thursday will probably show a close race between Mark Sanford and Colbert Busch.”

Tags: Mark Sanford , Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Sanford: I’m Eager to Share a Stage With My Opponent


Down in South Carolina’s first congressional district, Republican nominee and former governor Mark Sanford is relaunching his campaign with a furiously busy schedule, eager to refocus the race about any topic besides his former marriage, his current fiancée, Jenny Sanford’s accusation of trespassing, or other personal issues.

This weekend his campaign announced “15 in 5” — a series of 15 campaign stops across the district, where he has invited Elizabeth Colbert Busch to “join him and discuss issues jointly with Lowcountry voters.” In news that will surely shock you, Colbert Busch is not expected to appear at this week’s events.

Today’s Sanford events will be at Hay Tire Pros in Mount Pleasant at 11 a.m., Page’s Okra Grill in Mount Pleasant at noon, and Holt Transmission Service in Charleston at 1:30 p.m.

The Charleston Post & Courier notices:

So far, the 1st Congressional District race has featured a little bit of everything — except Republican Mark Sanford and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch meeting face to face to talk issues.

Only one forum has been set: an April 29 appearance at The Citadel. Other groups, such as the Goose Creek NAACP, are trying to arrange more but with no success to date.

Colbert Busch has not committed to the NAACP’s April 30 forum and was unable to make a South Carolina AARP debate that was to be held April 17. That event was going to be televised, but the April 29 forum is not scheduled to be on TV.

For all her advantages, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch doesn’t seem to want to get up on stage with Mark Sanford.

Tags: Mark Sanford , Elizabeth Colbert Busch

The NRCC, Harvesting a New Message on the Vine


I’ll end the week by sharing two items from the Friday edition of the Morning Jolt. First, a Jolt/Campaign Spot exclusive . . .

The NRCC, Harvesting a New Message on the Vine

Are you familiar with Vine?

It’s sort of “Twitter for video.” Basically, it’s a network designed for sharing six-second snippets of video. Mini-YouTube, if you will. I’m not quite convinced that this will take off, but I’m sure some folks said the same thing about 140-characters-or-less messages when Twitter debuted. Anyway, in a Morning Jolt/Campaign Spot exclusive, you can check out the National Republican Congressional Committee’s debut effort in using this mobile service.

The National Republican Congressional Committee today released a 6 second Vine ad on Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s unwavering support for unions at the expense of South Carolina jobs.

Colbert Busch has said union voices need to be “lifted up” and even took campaign cash from the same union that tried to destroy South Carolina jobs. Unions have enough of a voice in Washington, they don’t need Elizabeth Colbert Busch too.

This is the first time a political organization has launched an actual ad on Vine to attack an opponent. Vine ads can easily be shared and are a new frontier of political media.

“Elizabeth Colbert Busch has consistently sided with the union that tried to destroy South Carolina jobs,” said NRCC Regional Press Secretary Katie Prill. “She can dodge debates and questions over her shady alliance with these unions, but she can’t hide from the truth. The families of South Carolina deserve a voice in Congress, but Elizabeth Colbert Busch is only concerned with being the voice of unions in Washington.”

Elizabeth Colbert Busch Said The Voices Of All Unions Need To Be “Lifted Up.” “‘The voices of the union — of all unions — need to be lifted up,’ Colbert Busch said.” (Paige Lavender, “Jim Clyburn: Elizabeth Colbert Busch Will Protect Workers’ Rights In Congress,” The Huffington Post, 2/16/13)

National Review Online: “Colbert Busch Took Money From Union That Opposed S.C. Boeing Plant” (Jim Geraghty, “Colbert Busch took Money From Union That Opposed S.C. Boeing Plant,” National Review Online, 4/9/13)

A big deal? A passing fad? I guess we’ll see. But it’s good to see the NRCC trying new approaches and technologies and seeing what works.


Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , NRCC

Colbert Busch Appears to Prefer a . . . Selective Campaigning Schedule


How much will voters in South Carolina’s first congressional district see of Elizabeth Colbert Busch before Election Day?

Next week’s debate at the Medical University of South Carolina, sponsored by the AARP and Channel 2, is now canceled. Mark Sanford’s campaign says he was game. Her campaign is Tweeting an announcement for a debate later in the month, on April 29, so presumably she’ll attend that one. The Sanford campaign proposed two other debates — one on CNN, the other sponsored by the Rotary Club of Charleston — and says they’re still waiting to hear if Colbert Busch will agree.

Then there are these inconvenient points in a mostly glowing article in the Charleston Post & Courier:

Colbert Busch’s only public Charleston event this week was a call into her West Ashley campaign office . . .

The call lasted just a few minutes, but Jim Pierson, a Colbert Busch volunteer from James Island, said he thought it was an effective message.

When Colbert Busch held a kick-off event this month at an assisted-living center on Johns Island, a dozen elderly residents sipped champagne as they listened to Colbert Busch give a cheerful, brief speech.

She didn’t talk about federal policies or campaign issues. Instead, she just celebrated her primary win, thanked them for inviting her back, and she said she would keep them in her thoughts.

However, she did tour a hospital today.

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Mark Sanford

Colbert Busch took Money From Union That Opposed S.C. Boeing Plant


In her first television ad, Elizabeth Colbert Busch says she won’t take any special-interest pledges.

She’ll take their money, though. As of March 2013, Colbert Busch has taken $26,000 from unions:

She took $5,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC on Feb. 15, 2013.

She took $5,000 from the International Longshoremen’s Association AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education on Feb. 25, 2013.

She took $5,000 from the Communications Workers of America on Feb. 27, 2013.

She took $1,000 from the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers on Feb. 27, 2013.

She took $2,500 from the United Transportation Union PAC on March 8, 2013.

She took $2,500 from the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Political Action League on March 14, 2013.

She took $5,000 from the Machinists Non Partisan Political League of The International Association of Machinists on March 15, 2013.

The International Association of Machinists is the union that filed a complaint against Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board, attempting to prevent Boeing from building a $750 million Dreamliner factory in South Carolina, contending that the decision to locate the new factory there was retaliation against their Washington employees for a strike. The labor board had asked a judge to order Boeing to move its three-plane-a-month South Carolina production line to Washington State.

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Sanford: Let’s Do At Least Four Debates This Month


Remember how Elizabeth Sanford Busch, the Democrat running for Congress in South Carolina’s First Congressional District, seemed a little shaky in one of her first national television appearances?

It appears Mark Sanford’s campaign wants to get the two candidates in front of the cameras and microphones as often as possible:

Former Governor Mark Sanford today accepted invitations for the following debates and forums, and encouraged his Democratic opponent to accept these four invitations – and possibly even more – to give the voters of the First District a chance to see both candidates confront issues side by side.

The debates accepted by Governor Sanford are as follows:

·         AARP– April 17th

·         Patch/SC Radio Network – April 29th

·         Rotary Club of Charleston – April 30th

·         CNN – April 30th

“I look forward to meeting with my opponent to discuss issues that matter to folks across the First District, like what we’re going to do to get our fiscal house in order, what is the proper role of government when it comes to jobs and the economy, and how best to address the nation’s healthcare challenges,” Governor Sanford said. “During the last several months traveling the First District, what I’ve heard consistently is that people want to have a real, open, substantive exchange of ideas on these issues and a host of others. I would encourage my opponent to also accept these invitations.”

Four debates… or more!

In other news, Colbert Busch has released her first television ad, declaring, “as a single mom raising three young children, I had to be independent and do what’s right for them. Now, I’m going to take that lesson to Congress.”

By the way, her campaign did issue a statement in response to Sanford’s challenge yesterday, that the Clemson Wind Turbine Research reported to the government that it had created or saved only 134 jobs at about $320,000 per job.

“This is just another perfect example of Mark playing fast and loose with the facts.1 The wind turbine project has, and will, create good-paying jobs right here at home for American workers.2 The project is still under construction3 and studies show the wind power industry in South Carolina is projected to create as many as 20,000 jobs4. When it comes to our energy, we don’t need an ‘either/or’ policy,5 but a business-minded comprehensive approach in order for America to truly become energy independent from foreign oil.6 As a businesswoman, I’m proud of bringing together both the public and private sectors as partners that can invest in South Carolina not only today, but for generations to come.”

1. An accusation.

2. Does not contradict Sanford’s assertion.

3. An excuse; the project began work in spring 2010 and has, according to the federal government’s figures, never “created or saved” more than 35 jobs at any one time.

4. A big promise that blurs the scope of this project and the job creation of the entire wind power industry in the state.

5. A non sequitur.

6. Outdated rhetoric; the United States is currently exporting more gasoline, diesel and other fuels than we import.

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Mark Sanford

Sanford: Are $320,000-Per-Job Stimulus Projects Worth It?


If you’re wondering how Mark Sanford will attempt to shift the discussion in South Carolina’s first congressional district from you-know-what to actual policy issues, today his campaign offers its first example: whether the stimulus passed by the federal government back in 2009 represented a good use of taxpayer dollars.

You see, Elizabeth Colbert Busch has spent the last five years as director of business development at Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, which is heavily involved in wind-turbine research and development — and a big recipient of federal funds from the 2009 stimulus.

The release from the Sanford campaign:

Former Governor Mark Sanford today visited with a local small business owner to ask the “$320,000 question” of the Congressional campaign:

Could you create more than one job with $320,000?

For the past three years, Governor Sanford’s opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, has helped advance the Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility, which has largely been funded via the 2009 stimulus — something Governor Sanford vehemently opposed all the way to the state Supreme Court. Colbert Busch is also on record calling the facility a good example of the kind of project the stimulus should have supported.

The problem?

After a $43 million stimulus infusion, according the Obama Administration’s own statistics the facility has “created or saved” only 134.12 jobs.

That equates to more than $320,000 per job, in fact if you were to include other public monies the number gets closer to $500,000 per job!

Governor Sanford has long argued that the stimulus would not have the desired effect of growing the economy, and in fact would impede economic recovery. In fact, in 2009 he wrote that as a nation we cannot, “solve a problem of too much debt with yet more debt.” Instead, Governor Sanford has argued for lower taxes and limited spending as keys to growing the economy.

Governor Sanford today visited Lyerly’s Cleaners in Mount Pleasant — as he will with other small businesses across the 1st District — to talk one-on-one with business owners about whether they would prefer more in the way of economic “stimulus” or more in the way of tax cuts and regulatory relief.

“I have no doubt they’re doing some great research over at the Drivetrain Institute, but to me it comes back to the ideas of return on investment, and the proper role of government in the economy,” Sanford said. “Some believe that it’s government’s role to try and drive the economy, but as we all saw back in 2009 it just didn’t work, and some would argue it actually prolonged our recovery because it froze would-be investors who wondered when the next bailout would take place. I believe a key difference in this race is going to be whether one believes it is small business that drives the economy, or whether one believes it is government borrowing that does so, and I look forward to having that debate with my opponent over the coming weeks.”

I asked Sanford’s folks how they came up with the $320,000 per job figure; they pointed to

According to the data, the program began “creating or saving” jobs sometime in spring 2010, when it somehow managed to “create or save” one-tenth of one job. The following quarter it “created or saved” 8.09 jobs, then down to 2.82, bouncing up and down, peaking at 34.78 jobs in spring 2012, and creating or saving 3.64 jobs in the most recent quarter from October to December 2012.

If you take all of the federal funds awarded so far, and divide that figure by the sum total of jobs “created or saved” in all of the quarters so far, you get $320,608.41.

(Perhaps defenders of the stimulus, or Colbert Busch, will attempt to help them by insisting that this is just a matter of the project managers reporting nonsensical numbers to the federal government as part of the accountability efforts. Nothing to worry about!)

His opponent’s messaging is . . . different. Today, Colbert Busch’s Facebook page linked to her economic policy, declaring that the sequester cuts are “mindless” and that “We need to provide our entrepreneurs and innovators opportunities to succeed.”  Also, her Twitter feed has spent two days letting people know where they can pick up yard signs.

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Mark Sanford

The 2014 Democrats: They Have No Opinions on Anything!


Today’s Morning Jolt points out that some sources contradict a Washington Post report on sequester cuts hurting cancer patients; discusses whether the term “entitlements” helps or hurts effort to reform those programs, and then has this bit of political news on the early talk of the 2014 House races:

Vote Democrats in 2014: They Have No Opinions on Anything!

Keep the lead of this Washington Post article in mind when you’re told about the great liberal ascendancy that will continue in the midterms:

Democratic Party officials believe that Kevin Strouse is exactly the kind of candidate who can help them retake the House next year.

He’s a smart, young former Army Ranger — good qualities for any aspiring politician. But what party leaders really like is that Strouse doesn’t have particularly strong views on the country’s hottest issues.

Immigration? Tax policy? “Certainly I have a lot of research to do,” Strouse acknowledged in an interview Thursday as he announced his candidacy in a suburban Philadelphia House district.

Strouse’s candidacy reflects an emerging Democratic strategy for taking back the House from Republicans after the tea party takeover of 2010.

Like Elizabeth Colbert Busch, he appears to be following a strategy of never taking a stance that anyone, anywhere, might disagree with. “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride . . .”

Now, if liberalism were ascendant, and the electorate’s preferences were shifting strongly and dramatically to the left, why wouldn’t these folks be talking about the need for the government to do more, dismiss the claim that we need to dramatically reduce our spending, that President Obama is getting it right, again and again, and that they’ll eagerly return Nancy Pelosi to the Speakership?

You can argue that Colbert Busch is running in too Republican-leaning a district to give you a fair reading on that. But Kevin Strouse is running in Pennsylvania’s eighth district, basically Bucks County. It’s a D+1 district. With Barack Obama carrying the state by a healthy margin, and Bob Casey winning the Senate reelection handily, the GOP incumbent, Mike Fitzpatrick, won . . . 56 percent of the vote. Nearly 200,000 votes.

Also mentioned in the article: Sean Eldridge, husband of Facebook co-founder and New Republic owner Chris Hughes. Here are some of the highlights from the New York magazine writeup on his filing:

Yesterday Eldridge, 26, filed papers establishing a campaign organization that would enable him to compete for New York’s 19th congressional district seat in 2014 . . . 

Eldridge would be smart to stockpile more of that kind of credit in the local political favor bank. He was born in Canada and grew up in Ohio, and he and Hughes split time among a number of palatial residences — the kind of things that will help Gibson try to paint the novice candidate as a dilettante and carpetbagger. Gibson, 48, is a lifelong New Yorker and a talented campaigner with an appealing personal story, especially for a district that includes newly gentrified river towns like Hudson* but also covers a wide swath of depressed rural territory: He’s a former Army colonel who served four tours in Iraq and was awarded a Purple Heart…

November’s results showed that Gibson is formidable: He beat a Democratic challenger by six points even though Barack Obama carried the district by a substantial margin. Turnout is likely to be lower in 2014 — without a presidential campaign or a contested New York gubernatorial election — which could also hurt Eldridge’s chances.

There’s a lot of road between this moment and the 2014 midterms, but . . .  do Colbert Busch, Strouse, and Eldridge sound like the all-star team you would want to assemble to retake the House?

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , House Democrats , House Republicans , Kevin Strouse , Sean Eldridge

Gillibrand: Colbert Busch Needs Your Help, So Give My PAC Money!


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, is sending out a fundraising e-mail for Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Well, she’s sort of raising money for the South Carolina Democrat. You see, if you click on the link, it gives you the option of donating to Colbert Busch’s campaign and/or Gillibrand’s Off the Sidelines PAC.

From: Kirsten Gillibrand <[email protected]>

Subject: Breaking News: Sanford

Date: April 2, 2013 8:40:50 PM EDT

To: Reply-To: [email protected]


Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford just won the Republican runoff for the 1st congressional district Special Election tonight.

This is the same Mark Sanford who, as governor, disappeared from office and used taxpayer money to visit his mistress.

With all the issues we are working on, we do not need him in Congress. Fortunately, there is a strong independent woman running to give us a better alternative named Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

The latest release from Public Policy Polling shows the campaigns are virtually tied right now, but Sanford has a big money advantage.

I talked to Elizabeth and told her we are going to do everything we can to make sure she wins. My Off The Sidelines PAC has already contributed to Elizabeth’s campaign, but with only 35 days until Election Day, she needs all of our help.

Republican party bosses know they can’t run on Sanford’s record, so they are going to attack Elizabeth. She needs us to fight back.Will you join me, right now, in contributing to her campaign?

Click here to send $5 or more directly to electing Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Elizabeth has spent the last five years as director of Business Development at Clemson University’s Restoration Institute. She also led the effort to bring the world’s largest wind turbine/grid simulator facility to the district she is running to represent. This has created thousands of jobs, important wage gains and set an example for what renewable energy can do for the environment and the economy.

Elizabeth is exactly the kind of person we need in elected office. She has real accomplishments for middle-class families. And, she pronounces the “t” in Colbert.

Help Elizabeth win today.

Click here to give $5 or more, now, so we can make sure Elizabeth has what she needs to run a winning race over the next 35 days.

Thank you,


This message was sent to . To unsubscribe from the Gillibrand for Senate email list, please click here.


Last cycle, Gillibrand’s “Off the Sidelines PAC” largely stayed on the sidelines, donating a total of $6,500 to four House Democratic candidates.

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Kirsten Gillibrand

Colbert Busch Boldly Announces that Fraud and Waste Are Bad


Elizabeth Colbert Busch hasn’t done a lot of national press interviews in her bid for the U.S. House down in South Carolina; one of her first was with Chuck Todd on the Daily Rundown:

Her answers on policy questions, transcribed:

On why she wants to be in Congress: “It’s time to have a common-sense approach to what’s happening, and to represent my district, and to stop this extreme behavior and dysfunctional behavior in Washington, D.C.”

Asked to elaborate: “Both sides are digging their heels in, and no one’s reaching across the aisle and speaking with each other. There’s no sense of compromise or collaboration or negotiation going on. And it’s time to stop. It’s time to stop that.”

On whether government is too big or too small: “I believe in the sequester issue, especially if I may speak for District One of South Carolina, there’s an incredible sense of frustration with what’s going on in Washington, D.C. We are having some economic growth in our district. We have some incredible unique opportunities in our district. And on the cusp of that, just as we’re recovering from one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression, this is happening. And it’s not something that’s new. It’s not something we didn’t know about. It’s something that has been going on for 18 months. And in our district, the District One of the state South Carolina, the impacts to us are extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary. I’m sure that’s true for all districts around all the states around all the country, but I’m speaking for District One.”

On whether government spending needs to shrink, or taxes need to be raised: “I think what we need to do is we have to look at what’s going on in Washington relative to loopholes, relative to fraud and waste, and I think we need to begin with that. That’s the low-hanging fruit. That’s something that can be addressed immediately. And then, once we get through that, then we need to look at where we come to common ground.”

On the Simpson-Bowles plan’s proposals for entitlements: “I think with Social Security, Medicare first of all, we need to protect it for our seniors. It’s something they paid into. It’s something they deserve. And it’s something we need to protect. I don’t want to diminish it or have it taken away at all. That is something I will fight to protect, both Social Security and Medicare. But when we look at what the issues are, again, let’s go back to, where’s the waste? Let’s look at the waste. We need to address what we’re doing to control waste and control fraud. We have to begin there, so that we begin with a level playing field.”

Todd: Where do you think this fraud and waste is?

Colbert Busch: It could be in multiple areas. It could be in duplications. It could be in duplications of filings, it could be anything. But it’s something we have to look through, and we need to peel back the onion, and look at exactly where it is. And we have to look at these things through modern technology. We need to be able to ensure that we can move the ball forward and check waste and fraud through modern technology. And that’s s going to take continuous focus upon research.


Notice that this word salad is all theme and tone, with few if any specific positions.

But at least she’s boldly staked out positions that fraud and waste are bad (and could be anything!), and that Social Security and Medicare shouldn’t be “taken away.”

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Colbert-Busch, the Candidate of Democrats and One Other Party . . .


According to Green Papers, a campaign-filing-tracking web site, the South Carolina Working Families Party nominated Elizabeth Colbert-Busch as their party’s candidate in the South Carolina special House election, and she will be appearing on that party’s ballot line.

If the name “Working Families Party” rings a bell, it’s probably because you recall it was “begun in 1998 by a consortium that included ACORN, labor unions and other advocacy groups.”

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Yes, Let’s Meet Those Candidates in South Carolina!


From the Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt . . .

Mark Sanford Wants a Shot at Redemption; He Doesn’t Want to End Up a Cartoon in a Cartoon Graveyard

Last night, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford beat his rival, Curtis Bostic, in the runoff for the special House election in that state’s first congressional district. He won 26,066 votes, or 56 percent. (In the March 19 Democratic primary, with a little-known primary rival, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch won 15,082 votes.)

Whatever your joke about hiking the Appalachian Trail, Mark Sanford’s probably heard it already. He’s addressed it in interview after interview. In that ad in the Packet I linked to yesterday, he published his cell-phone number for anyone who had questions. He’s attended just about every candidate gathering during the primary process and held plenty of public events; he did 13 public events in the final four days of the campaign, taking Easter Sunday off. Bostic missed enough events to sway one of the other GOP competitors, former Dorchester County sheriff Ray Nash.

Love him or hate him, Sanford put himself before the voters again and let them decide whether his scandal made him unfit for office. He’s paid the price for his actions in the end of his marriage and in censure by the state legislature. We know exactly what he did wrong, and it’s been hashed out in the national stage, the cable shouting shows, and the late-night monologues. From what we can see, he’s on good terms with his sons, he’s on civil, if weird, terms with his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, and he’s engaged to María Belén Chapur.

Are he and the constituents he seeks to represent allowed to move on? Can the coming weeks be about the economy and the debt and the other big issues facing the nation and the state’s first congressional district? Or will the next four weeks be an endless cavalcade of four-year-old “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” jokes?

Sanford knows the tide he’s swimming against here. Take a look at this blazing enthusiasm for Sanford: “At Knightsville Elementary School, Joy McCreight sighed and said she’d voted for Sanford, ‘the little snake.’”


We all made the same joke in our heads just now, didn’t we? See, then I don’t need to write it out.

Stu Rothenberg called out Elizabeth Colbert-Busch’s campaign for releasing only portions of her internal poll:

It’s also a little worrisome that the Lake Research polling memo and Colbert Busch campaign press release single out the candidate’s strong favorability rating (61 percent) in Charleston County. Why include only Colbert Busch’s favorability number in Charleston County, the most Democratic of the district’s larger counties? Why not also note her favorability numbers in Beaufort and Berkeley counties, two Republican counties that together have a larger population than Charleston?

I think we can all guess the answer to that question: The polling memo is little more than an attempt to generate momentum and dollars for Colbert Busch’s campaign, rather than a vehicle for shedding light on where the race stands and where it might go. So the campaign and the campaign pollster release only those numbers consistent with the memo’s purpose.

Dear national press: if you plan on covering this race, it might be nice to mention something about Elizabeth Colbert-Busch beyond her famous brother.

Of course, Colbert Busch may be attempting to be the first woman elected to Congress without ever taking a stance that anyone, anywhere, might disagree with.

You think I exaggerate? She opposes sequestration, but doesn’t go into much detail about how she wants to replace it, beyond, “a long-term budget deal that gets the nation on track for economic growth.” Swell.

She declares, “we need to drop the foolish idea of across-the-board cuts and use the regular Congressional process to enact measured, targeted cuts.” But other than ending Medicare overpayments and targeting fraud, she doesn’t mention any cuts.

Guess what her view on Obamacare is? “Everyone is either all for the Affordable Care Act or all against it. It’s time to be practical and not political. I believe there are good and bad provisions in the new law and that more needs to be done. I will work with patients, providers, hospitals and businesses in the 1st District to implement what works and fix what doesn’t.” In short, her message is that she supports the popular parts, and opposes the unpopular parts.

She declares Social Security “is safe for more than the next 20 years. We should use that time to consider modest changes that will extend its life for another generation of Americans. I would start by looking at changes that would not affect our seniors or those nearing retirement today, but in the long term would adjust Social Security contributions and benefits for the wealthiest Americans.” No sense of what those “adjusted” contributions and benefits would be, of course.

On education, she writes, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride . . .” Okay, that one I just stuck in there to see if you were paying attention. Her real stance is . . . eh, not that different from the Whitney Houston lyrics: “I passionately believe that quality public education is the key to our future: It must be available to all of our children from pre-k to high school, technical school and beyond.”

I’ve seen edgier stands in Hallmark cards.

So you know what’s going to define this race? If the voters of South Carolina’s first district get to know anything about what Colbert-Busch wants to do in Washington beyond these kumbaya clichés.

Mark Sanford issued the following statement on his victory in the runoff for the Republican congressional nomination for South Carolina’s first district:

“First and foremost, I’m humbled and overwhelmed by the support we’ve received across the district, and more than anything, I’d like to thank the people of the 1st District for choosing me from a great field of Republican candidates,” Sanford said. “As well, I’d give real credit to my runoff opponent, Curtis Bostic, for the campaign he’s run.

“I’ve always said that this race is not about people, it’s about ideas — but the ideas being advanced by myself and my opponent in this general election that starts right now couldn’t be more at odds with one another. My record is one of cutting debt, eliminating deficits, reducing taxes, and working to make sure businesses are more competitive. On the other side, we have more of the same of what has gotten our country into the mess that it’s in — a belief in government and government spending on things like the stimulus are a cure to all ills, an alliance with unions that should be truly disconcerting to places like Boeing and a whole lot of other businesses out there, and a belief that the government approach to healthcare represented by things like Obamacare is the right direction for our nation.

“The bottom line is that there will be a very clear contrast between the ideas we’re putting forward and those of my opponent, and I look forward to that contest of ideas on the campaign trail in the coming few weeks.”

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Mark Sanford

Sanford Wins South Carolina House GOP Runoff


The Associated Press has called the South Carolina special House primary election for Mark Sanford.

At this hour, he leads with 14,227 votes to Bostic’s 11,552, a 55 percent to 44 percent split.

Charleston County, the most populous county in the district, is proving a Sanford stronghold; the former governor leads 59 percent to 40 percent with about two-thirds of precincts reporting.

Much to my surprise, Bostic made up a lot of ground in Beaufort County. He won only 8 percent in the first round but is currently leading that county, 52 percent to 47 percent; 73 out of 80 precincts have reported at this hour.

Clearly, Sanford will need to perform better here in the general-election matchup against Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Dorchester was Bostic’s best county in the first round (18.4 percent) but proved a Sanford stronghold in the runoff. With two-thirds of precincts reporting, Sanford leads, 58 percent to 41 percent.

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , Mark Sanford

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