Sanford Outraises Field, But Colbert Busch Not Far Behind
The latest, pre-primary financial disclosure forms are out in South Carolina's First District special election, and it's no surprise that former Gov. Mark Sanford leads the pack. Absent any public polling in the race, the reports filed with the Federal Election Commission provide the first -- and likely last -- glance at each candidate's support ahead of the March 19 primary.
Sanford brought in $334,397 between January 1 and February 27 and ended the period with $364,714, thanks to the more than $120,000 he had leftover in his congressional campaign account from his 1998 reelection campaign. Sanford didn't receive any contributions from party committees or political action committees, so all of that money came from individuals, including Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., and billionaire David Koch, who gave $2,500.
Among Republicans, Sanford is followed by state Sen. Larry Grooms, who brought in $223,815 during the period and ended with $208,493 on hand, and state Rep. Chip Limehouse, who raised $140,115 and ended with $42,657 in the bank. Those numbers solidify the early thinking that both were frontrunners.
Teddy Turner, son of the media mogul Ted Turner, reported raising $376,433 during the period -- more than any of the other candidates -- but $245,000 of that came out of his own pocket. Just $128,433 was contributed by individuals, including several members of his family and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., whose support is unlikely to help Turner overcome the perception that he is as liberal as the rest of the Turner clan. Turner told the New York Times earlier this week that he may spend as much as $500,000 on his campaign.
Turner turned in his report on Friday morning. Reports were due to the FEC by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
Including personal loans, however, the whole field was surpassed by former state Sen. John Kuhn, who raised just $50,103 during the period, but loaned his own campaign $500,000. He had $131,295 in his war chest as of February 27.
Kuhn was hardly alone. Several of the candidates lent money to their own campaigns, a necessity for some in a crowded field, with such a contracted campaign. Limehouse took out $400,000 for his campaign, bringing his total receipts to $540,115, just slightly behind Kuhn. Grooms took out $100,000, bringing his total to $323,815, close to Sanford's. Former Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly took out a $205,000 loan for her campaign, which raised just $2,155 during the pre-primary period.
The next highest fundraisers were former Charleston County councilor Curtis Bostic, who raised $187,272 (including a $100,000 personal loan) and had $57,024 in the bank at the end of the period, and state Rep. Andy Patrick, who raised $61,612 and had $34,372 on hand.
Meanwhile, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who is expected to cruise through her primary, brought in nearly as much as Sanford, raising $309,559 during the first two months of the year, including a $9,000 loan, and ending with $208,630 on hand. Her haul included $18,000 from political action committees, including those for several labor unions and the leadership committees of Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and former Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.
Colbert Busch also brought in money from several members of her family, the chairman of the state Democratic Party Dick Harpootlian and former gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen. Notably, brother Stephen Colbert has yet to donate, but his "personal lawyer," former Republican FEC chairman Trevor Potter, gave her $500.
Colbert Busch received contributions from more South Carolinians than did Sanford; 192 individuals from the Palmetto state donated to her campaign, while 124 gave to Sanford's.
Reports were not available for businessman Keith Blandford, who ran as a Libertarian for the seat last year, engineer Ric Bryant, former Army officer Shawn Pinkston and Democrat Ben Frasier.
While Colbert Busch is expected to win a majority of the vote in the Democratic primary, if no Republican earns 50-percent-plus-one, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on April 2. The next FEC filing deadline in case of a runoff is March 21.
UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect fundraising numbers for Turner and Moffly, both of whom missed Thursday night's deadline to file with the FEC and turned in reports this morning.