19 candidates file for SC 1st district congressional seat

gsmith@islandpacket.comJanuary 28, 2013 

COURTESY OF MORGUEFILE.COM

  • Here's the final list of candidates vying to represent the 1st Congressional District, which includes part of Beaufort County:

    Republicans

    1. Keith Blandford, unsuccessful 2012 Libertarian candidate for the 1st District.

    2. Curtis Bostic, a Charleston attorney and former member of Charleston County Council.

    3. Ric Bryant, a Hanahan resident and engineer.

    4. S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms of Berkeley County, serving in Senate since 1997.

    5. Jonathan Hoffman, a Charleston small-business owner, adjunct professor at The Citadel and the Charleston School of Law, and an Air Force Reserve officer.

    6. Jeff King, a Goose Creek resident and systems engineer for a military contractor.

    7. Former S.C. Sen. John Kuhn of Charleston County, served in Senate from 2001 to 2004.

    8. Tim Larkin, a Summerville resident, information systems security engineer working for a military contractor, veteran of the Afghanistan war and currently in the S.C. Army National Guard.

    9. S.C. Sen. Chip Limehouse of Charleston County, serving in Senate since 1995.

    10. S.C. Rep. Peter McCoy of Charleston County, serving in the House since 2011.

    11. Elizabeth Moffly, member of the Charleston County school board and unsuccessful 2010 GOP candidate for state superintendent of education.

    12. Ray Nash, former Dorchester County sheriff, who most recently served in Afghanistan as a criminal-justice adviser with the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

    13. S.C. Rep. Andy Patrick of Hilton Head Island, serving in the House since 2011.

    14. Shawn Pinkston, Charleston attorney, Iraq war veteran, and former communications director for the Kentucky Senate president and then-U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis of Kentucky.

    15. Former two-term Gov. Mark Sanford of Charleston County, who represented the district for three terms in Congress.

    16. Teddy Turner, son of media mogul Ted Turner, and an economics teacher at the Charleston Collegiate School, a private school near Charleston.



    Democrats

    1. Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, director of business development for Clemson University's wind-turbine facility in North Charleston and sister of Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."

    2. Ben Frasier, a businessman who has run for S.C. offices dozens of times.

    3. Martin Skelly, a West Ashley resident and owner of the Russia-based investment group UFG Asset Management.

In one of the most crowded U.S. House races in recent state history, 19 candidates have filed to run for the 1st Congressional District seat vacated by Tim Scott, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate.

Filing closed at noon Monday for the district that spans parts of five counties, including a portion of Beaufort County. Recently redrawn by the GOP-controlled legislature, district voters are expected to pick a Republican in the May 7 special election.

But first, the crowded field almost certainly ensures a runoff -- at least among the 16 Republicans -- that would be March 19.

"I don't recall a larger group of candidates for a state or federal office in recent history," said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the S.C. Election Commission.

Special elections, which entail less time on the campaign trail and less money to be raised, often attract many contenders.

"Add to that that there is lots of interest in replacing a national star like Tim Scott and that there's no prohibitive favorite in the race, and it makes sense," said Tony Denny, a state Republican strategist. "(Former Gov.) Mark Sanford starts out as a front-runner but with serious flaws. No one sees him as unbeatable. That makes the field wide open."

The race is certain to attract lots of national attention, too, thanks to a matchup that pits Sanford, attempting to fight his way back from a 2009 extramarital affair, against fellow Republican Teddy Turner, son of media mogul Ted Turner and the only Republican in the Turner family. Not to be outdone, the Democratic side features Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, sister to late-night comedian and Charleston native Stephen Colbert, who had his own fun diving into S.C. politics.

In 2011, Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," met with S.C. Republican Party officials to buy naming rights for the state's first-in-the-South GOP presidential primary. Party leaders declined the comedian's request to name the primary "The Colbert Nation Super PAC Presidential Primary."

And then there's the curious case of Democrat Ben Frasier, a longtime thorn in the S.C. Democratic Party's side, who has run dozens of times for various S.C. offices, including a couple of tries for the 1st Congressional District.

In 2010, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Charleston Democrat, said he believed Frasier and two other Democrats were plants by unnamed people with money and unknown motives. That year, Frasier trounced fellow Democrat Robert Burton in the primary, even though Burton was backed by S.C. Democratic leaders. The seat ultimately was won by Scott, a Republican.

Reached briefly by phone Monday, Frasier said he would soon reveal in a press conference why he was running again. Later efforts to reach Frasier were unsuccessful.

Scott won re-election to the district in November, topping Democratic nominee Bobbie Rose by 28 percentage points. He vacated the seat when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, a Republican who retired with four years remaining in his term to lead the Heritage Foundation.

Rose contemplated another run but said Monday she changed her mind.

Related content

  1. Grooms jumps into congressional race, stumps in Sun City, Jan. 25, 2013
  2. Kuhn cites marital loyalty, conservative credentials in crowded congressional race, Jan. 24, 2013

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