Elizabeth Colbert Busch
Former Gov. Mark Sanford is the Republican money leader in the race for the 1st Congressional District seat, raising more than $334,000 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 27.
He has taken out no loans and accepted no donations from political action committees.
"I have been really humbled by the level of support our campaign has gotten," Sanford said. "People from all walks of life have stepped forward to join our effort to get government spending under control, and I'm genuinely appreciative."
Several of the other GOP candidates are tapping their own wallets heavily, according to new federal financial filings released late Thursday and Friday.
While Teddy Turner raised more than $376,000 for the period, only about $131,000 came from donors. The rest, $245,000, came from Turner himself.
Meanwhile, Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, has put $100,000 into his campaign, and so has Curtis Bostic, a former Charleston County Council member. Current Charleston County school board member Elizabeth Moffly loaned her campaign $205,000.
Two candidates are taking self-financing to a new level.
Former state Sen. John Kuhn, an attorney with offices in Bluffton and Charleston, has put $500,000 of his own money into his race. He is taking Sanford to task in a new TV ad.
State Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, has given $400,000 of his own money.
Many of the other GOP candidates are not taking out big loans and are lagging in fundraising. That includes state Rep. Andy Patrick, R-Hilton Head Island, the only Hilton Head resident in the race. He raised nearly $62,000 and loaned his campaign more than $3,000.
Sanford also has the upper hand with the most cash on hand with nearly $365,000 to propel him into the final days before the March 19 Republican primary.
Grooms and Democratic front-runner Elizabeth Colbert Busch share the second best position, each with more than $208,000 cash on hand.
Colbert Busch may be a newcomer to politics but is shining in the money race.
The Charleston businesswoman and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert has raised nearly $310,000, with only a small loan to her campaign. While her famous brother has not donated directly to her yet, he has co-hosted several high-profile fundraisers with her, bringing in the cash.
The state's Democratic leaders lining up behind her include Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, S.C. Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian, 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen, and unsuccessful 2008 Democratic congressional nominee Linda Ketner. All have made donations.
She also has received a $1,000 contribution from former U.S. Rep. John Spratt's congressional fund. Spratt was defeated in 2010 by now Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a York County Republican.
"Her positions on job creation, quality education, and protecting Social Security and Medicare have resonated with voters so thoroughly that they are willing to contribute financially to ensure her election," said Catherine Christman, Colbert Busch's spokeswoman. "Knowing how deep her support runs greatly inspires Elizabeth and her campaign as we gear up for the primary and general elections."