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Colbert Sought Naming Rights For South Carolina Primary

Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, stopped at the Federal Elections Commission in Washington, DC to file paperwork to form a super PAC on Friday, May 13, 2011.(Chet Susslin)

December 22, 2011

Imagine what could have been: Iowa votes for Ron Paul! New Hampshire breaks for Mitt Romney! And the entire Republican presidential contest switches gears and focuses on ... The Colbert Super PAC South Carolina Republican Primary?

It was nearly the case, Stephen Colbert revealed today.

In an op-ed in The State newspaper, the Comedy Central star reveals he held serious talks with South Carolina Republican Party officials about helping them fund the state's first-in-the-South primary through his super PAC, to the tune of $400,000.

That's no small offer: Until 2008, the state Republican Party had paid for the entire primary process, renting the polling places and voting machines, printing the ballots and providing the volunteers. In 2008, the state paid for both parties' competitive primaries. This year, the state GOP looked like it would be on the hook once again.

"So I called up the South Carolina GOP and said, 'How much cash would you have to raise to keep your promise to counties? Off the record; I'll never tell a soul.' They said, '$400,000,'" Colbert writes in The State today. "I said, 'I can cover that. No strings attached.'"

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