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On the same night that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary bid to an opponent who singularly focused on opposing the immigration overhaul, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — one of the authors of that legislation — won his primary with more than 50 percent of the vote.
Graham had 59 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race, all but ensuring his re-election to a third term. He also avoided a runoff, easily clearing the 50 percent threshold. He defeated state Sen. Lee Bright, businessman Richard Cash, businesswoman Nancy Mace, pastor Det Bowers, and attorney Bill Connor.
Conservatives initially targeted Graham this cycle, citing his support for a comprehensive immigration rewrite in the Senate. But no viable challenger emerged to take on Graham and his considerable war chest.
There is no serious Democratic challenger, and Graham is expected to coast to re-election in the fall.
South Carolina’s junior senator, Republican Tim Scott, is also up for election this year. Scott was appointed to the Senate last year by Gov. Nikki R. Haley, after former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to become president of the Heritage Foundation.
Scott did not have a challenger in Tuesday’s primary.
Both races are rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Rep. Mark Sanford, who was sworn into the House Wednesday, is unlikely to have a primary challenger in the coming cycle, or any cycle, according to Republicans plugged into Palmetto State politics.
The consensus among state operatives and consultants is that if former governor can avoid any missteps, he will have a lock on the 1st District.
The Republican’s personal baggage alone made this a competitive race — even in the GOP-heavy 1st District. It was further complicated by the low turnout and unpredictable nature of a special election.
This is the team that pulled it off: Full story
Mark Sanford is officially coming back to Congress.
The former South Carolina governor defeated the Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, on Tuesday night in South Carolina’s 1st District special election.
He defeated Colbert Busch 54 percent to 46 percent with 71 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. Full story
Could Mark Sanford pull off this special election on Tuesday after all? It’s more than possible.
Democrats and Republicans agree the former governor has half a shot at winning the 1st District special election Tuesday.
Only a week ago, operatives were preparing Sanford’s political obituary. But internal and public polls showed the race closing — and suddenly his return to the Palmetto State’s congressional delegation has become more than a possibility. Full story
Only nine days ago, former Gov. Mark Sanford invoked the Alamo in a full-page advertisement in his local paper, pleading for reinforcements to his embattled special election campaign. The appeal might have worked.
The latest Republican to offer support is the man whose appointment to the Senate created the seat’s special election: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. He’s one of several Republicans and conservatives who offered either verbal or financial support to Sanford in the last week Full story
Former Gov. Mark Sanford won the GOP nomination in the special election, setting up a general election fight with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Sanford defeated attorney Curtis Bostic, 55 percent to 45 percent, in the GOP runoff, with 67 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.
The 1st District is a strong Republican seat, but Sanford is not assured a general election win.
It is unclear how difficult the path ahead will be for Sanford in the general election. Some South Carolina Republicans insist that this is a solidly conservative district and that the idea of a Democratic winner is unfathomable.
But Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, has put together a professional campaign. She even released an internal poll Monday that showed she had a narrow lead over Sanford. (Our own Stuart Rothenberg offered a skeptical analysis.)
There is a special election because the district’s former congressman, Republican Tim Scott, was appointed to the Senate earlier this year. Gov. Nikki Haley picked Scott for the seat after then-Sen. Jim DeMint resigned from the Senate.
For a candidate known for one of the past decade’s most colossal political mistakes, former Gov. Mark Sanford has run a nearly flawless campaign for the 1st District.
As a result, Sanford is on track to win the Republican runoff and maintains a solid position in the special election for the coastal, GOP-leaning district.
On Tuesday, voters will determine whether Sanford can proceed with his political comeback over his GOP opponent, attorney Curtis Bostic. Palmetto State Republicans are confident Sanford will win the GOP nomination and continue to face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the May 7 general election.
A runoff victory will show that even after the former governor’s epic political implosion — disappearing from the state for days and admitting to an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina — solid campaign mechanics can push a candidate to victory.
“The governor has spent plenty of time addressing his personal failures from 2009, and I think anyone who knows him would agree that it was very much at odds with the rest of his political career,” Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said in an interview. Full story
Republican attorney Curtis Bostic has picked up two high-profile conservative endorsements in as many days, with less than a week to go in South Carolina’s special election GOP runoff.
In the last 24 hours or so, ex-Sen. Rick Santorum and 1950s pop singer Pat Boone announced their support for Bostic in the runoff against former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.
“Today I’m singing the praises of Curtis Bostic,” Boone wrote in a press release from the 60 Plus Association. “As a former U.S. Marine, Curtis Bostic can always be counted on to be faithful to his office. And Curtis Bostic can always be counted on to be faithful to those who place him in office.”
Boone’s use of the word “faithful” is a fairly overt allusion to Sanford’s highly publicized marital infidelity.
Voters in the coastal 1st District hit the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the Democratic and Republican special-election primaries.
Insiders expect more than 30,000 people to vote in the Republican primary; 16 candidates will be on the ballot.
The front-runner is former Gov. Mark Sanford. He is expected to be the top vote-getter but will likely fall well short of 50 percent. If that happens, he will land in an April 2 runoff with the Republican who receives the second largest share of votes.
Insiders believe that the most likely candidates to make the runoff with Sanford are attorney Curtis Bostic, state Sen. Larry Grooms, former state Sen. John Kuhn, state Rep. Chip Limehouse and economics teacher Teddy Turner, the son of media mogul Ted Turner. Full story
“It is a great day in South Carolina,” Haley said at a news conference at the state capitol in Columbia. “It is a historic day in South Carolina.”
Scott is expected to be sworn into the Senate when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3. He will run in a November 2014 special election to fill out the remainder of DeMint’s current term, which runs through 2016. His appointment means that the chamber will once again have African-American representation. The last black senator was Illinois Democrat Roland Burris, an appointee who served from 2009 to 2010. Scott will be the first black GOP senator from the South since 1881.
“This man loves South Carolina and he is very aware that what he does and every vote he makes affects South Carolina and affects our country,” Haley added. “And so it was with that that I knew that he was the right person. I have no doubt that he will fly through 2014.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley is set to appoint Republican Rep. Tim Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., according to several news reports. The official announcement is expected to come at noon Monday.
Scott would immediately be up for re-election in 2014 to finish the rest of DeMint’s term, which expires in 2017.
DeMint announced plans to resign from Congress a week and a half ago to take the reigns of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Gov. Nikki R. Haley’s 2014 re-election bid is expected to weigh heavily on whom she appoints to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican insiders told Roll Call Tuesday afternoon.
Haley is a rising star in national Republican circles and a tea party favorite. But at home, the first-term governor has struggled politically, fighting with Republicans in the Legislature and others in the party while enjoying lackluster support from independent voters. Haley appears safe from a primary challenge, but some polls have suggested that she could be vulnerable in the general election, despite the state’s strong conservative bent.
The Senate appointment could help Haley address some of these challenges, GOP operatives based in South Carolina and others with strong ties to the state said she is likely to take full advantage of the opportunity as she considers from a narrowed pool of five potential candidates. CNN first reported who was on the short list Tuesday, and each candidate carries strengths and weaknesses.
Rep. Trey Gowdy: Gowdy has tea party and conservative bona fides. He is not perceived to be personally close to Haley. Per one knowledgeable South Carolina-based GOP operative, Gowdy is the “unlikely choice for Haley, but for a future U.S. Senate race, a very good candidate.” Another source added that the Gowdy mention on the list might have as much to do with poking Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., as pushing Gowdy. Haley and Mulvaney have an adversarial relationship.
Speculation has centered on Rep. Tim Scott, but there are some other interesting names on her shortlist. Besides Scott, four more South Carolina Republicans are in the mix: Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, and state Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine B. Templeton.
As CNN notes, one notable name omitted from the list is freshman Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney.
“As has always been our policy, we do not comment on any aspect of an appointment process until the appointment is finalized,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey wrote in an email.
Haley announced on Monday she would not be appointing a caretaker for the job. Her pick is expected to be made as early as this week.
Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina has rejected the possibility that she will appoint a temporary caretaker to replace Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who is resigning effective in January.
“I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office,” she wrote in a statement Monday. “I do not want to deprive our state’s citizens of the chance to render their judgment on the appointee’s performance by way of their vote. Most importantly, while I am an avid supporter of term limits, I do not want the effectiveness of our state’s new U.S. Senator to be undermined by the fact that he or she will automatically be leaving the office such a very short time after assuming it.” Full story