Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Colbert’

Sanford!

In House on May 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

Seemingly against all odds, former governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) successfully re-claimed his former congressional seat with a stunning 54-45 percent victory over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch last night in southeastern South Carolina. The race drew major national attention because of Sanford’s highly publicized extra-marital affair and alleged violation of his divorce agreement, along with the Democratic nominee’s status of being the sister of Comedy Central television personality Stephen Colbert. Colbert Busch’s inability to dodge the liberal label, however, proved to be her undoing in this conservative Charleston-anchored 1st Congressional District.

It’s rare when a nominee winning a seat that overwhelmingly favors his party is considered an upset, but that’s exactly what happened last night. Sanford, running as a Tea Party endorsed fiscal hard-liner, successfully made his budget discipline message the focal point of the campaign and not his continuing personal scandals.

The Democrats poured a steady stream of money into the race, sensing that they could steal a solidly Republican seat and use the victory as a building block to support their 2014 House majority plan. Last night’s defeat is clearly a setback for them. When the final accounting is completed, the tally will likely show that Colbert Busch and the outside organizations supporting her or opposing Sanford spent between $1.7 and $2 million. Sanford, accompanied by very little outside spending, will come closer to, but will likely fall under, $1 million in total expenditures.

Earlier we projected that the former governor and congressman needed a high turnout to win because Colbert Busch would likely benefit from a lower voter participation rate. The former occurred. The final unofficial tally shows a total of 143,774 votes cast, from which Sanford garnered 54.0 percent. The total represents 31.6 percent of the 455,702 SC-1 registered voters.

Special elections commonly record total turnout numbers in the 100-120,000 range.  Continue reading >

Arkansas GOP Snapshot

In Governor, House, Senate on January 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R), it is being reported, will soon announce his candidacy to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor next year. Darr was also thought of as a potential gubernatorial candidate, but with former Rep. Asa Hutchinson already in that race, it appears that Darr will opt for the Senate.

The move would give Arkansas Republicans two strong candidates for the two top statewide contests. The governor’s campaign will be an open-seat campaign, as incumbent Mike Beebe (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Sen. Pryor was first elected in 2002. He was re-elected in 2008 without any opposition. His father, David Pryor, served three terms in the Senate from 1979-1997, after six years in the US House and one term as governor of Arkansas.

Natural State voters trended heavily to the GOP in the 2012 election, with the party’s candidates taking all four of the state’s congressional districts. Still, considering Sen. Pryor’s personal popularity, unseating him in 2014 would qualify as a major upset.

SC-1

Almost all of the early SC-1 special election campaign action has been on the Republican side, especially with former Gov. Mark Sanford entering the field of candidates. But now, two Democrats, including the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, are joining the Continue reading >

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