Musings on the South Carolina 1st District House Race

The special election today between Elizabeth Colbert Busch (Democrat) and Mark Sanford (Republican) should be interesting–in a geopolitical way. In 2011, the 1st district was changed significantly in its extent compared to 2001, and it now reaches south of Charleston rather than north (see maps below). Some new areas added to the 1st district are not as Republican.

Representative Tim Scott won reelection in 2012 in the redrawn 1st district with 62% of the vote (down from 66% in 2010). Yes, still impressive, but down about 4 points. Representative Scott had the advantage of incumbency and money, raising $1.6 million–versus $157,000 for his Democratic opponent. Mr. Sanford does not have the money advantage in this election. The 1st district is considered a safe Republican district, but special elections can produce surprises.

The new geographical extent of the 1st district may produce more votes from minorities and women, especially Republican women (like Jenny Sanford). The district’s largest paper, the Charleston Post and Courier, endorsed Colbert Busch; Sanford was endorsed by Larry Flynt.

I am posting this before the polls close in South Carolina. Media reports indicate a close race. We will see how close.