Three years before the South Carolina presidential primary, prospective presidential candidates are courting first-in-the-South Democratic activists — and, in one case this weekend, boosting a long-shot special-election House candidate.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley spent the weekend making overtures to the Palmetto State's Democratic establishment.
On March 23, O'Malley name-dropped Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch's campaign for the 1st District special election in his keynote speech to the South Carolina Democratic Party's Issues Conference. He noted that his daughter, a College of Charleston student, is one of her volunteers, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
That same day, CNN reported that Biden will attend a fundraising dinner for the South Carolina Democratic Party just days before the May 7 special election — although Biden will not visit the coastal 1st District.
"The vice president will not be coming to the 1st District while he is in the Palmetto State, and Elizabeth will be totally involved campaigning in the 1st District while he is in town," a spokesperson for Colbert Busch said in an email to CQ Roll Call.
The 1st District consistently votes for Republicans. But the race has garnered considerable national attention because of the candidates. Colbert Busch's brother is Stephen Colbert, a famous television comedian who has campaigned for his sister's effort.
She will likely run against former Gov. Mark Sanford in the special election. Sanford and attorney Curtis Bostic received the most votes in last week's primary, and they will face each other again in the April 2 runoff.
Still, the National Republican Congressional Committee sought to tie Colbert Busch to Biden via the "liberal policies" of the Obama administration in a Monday morning press release.
The vacancy occurred after the seat's former occupant, Republican Tim Scott, was appointed to the Senate this year.