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South Carolina's Celebrity-Filled Special Election South Carolina's Celebrity-Filled Special Election

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Politics

South Carolina's Celebrity-Filled Special Election

Ted Turner's son, Stephen Colbert's sister, and Mark Sanford are running.

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert has run his own satirical political campaigns in South Carolina. But his sister, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, appears serious about running for Congress there.(Chet Susslin)()

photo of Elahe Izadi
January 22, 2013

Put former Gov. Mark Sanford, Ted Turner’s son, and Stephen Colbert’s sister into a room and what do you have? A South Carolina congressional race.

The special election to fill the seat vacated by Republican now-Sen. Tim Scott is shaping up to be a little less C-SPAN and a little more Bravo reality show. In one corner is the likely frontrunner, Sanford, who is poised to make a comeback with a bid for Congress after his very public admission that he left the country to see his mistress after telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Comedian Stephen Colbert’s sister, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, is also planning to run. Her brother ran a part-real, part-parody campaign for president in South Carolina, but no signs of funny business are coming from Colbert-Busch -- yet (though we're keeping watch for a brotherly-endorsement). The Clemson University Restoration Institute development director has quite a backstory of her own; Colbert-Busch was working near the Twin Towers on Sept. 11 when the planes hit; her father and two of her brothers were killed in a plane crash when she was 19; and her ex-husband appeared on “America’s Most Wanted.”

 

Then there’s Teddy Turner, son of the media mogul, who is already out with the first ad of the campaign season, touting himself as a conservative. Turner is a Republican in a family of Democrats, and has done everything from working as a CNN Moscow producer to helping sell bison meat to launching a series of tech ventures. He’s now a high school economics teacher.

The list of possible candidates is long and includes state legislators. In such a crowded, many political observers believe Sanford has the name recognition, potential fundraising chops and, perhaps most importantly, the conservative record needed to win over this Republican-leaning district in such a short timeframe. But even if the race won't be a nail-bitter, that doesn't mean it won't provide some must-watch TV.

Update: Colbert-Busch is officially running for the seat, having filed today her candidacy papers with the South Carolina Democratic Party.

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