by Sam Spence
As the Republican field of 16 in the 1st District special election feverishly courts votes before the March primary, the Democratic ticket took a significant step forward Monday with the announcement that businessman Martin Skelly would drop his bid for the nomination, opting to back Elizabeth Colbert-Busch.
Skelly said in a joint-statement issued by the Colbert-Busch campaign that "she inspires both the party faithful and the political center", a constituency that could prove to be critical in a race with national media attention and a wide open Republican primary with candidates looking to differentiate themselves. Skelly went on to say he was throwing his support behind Colbert-Busch's campaign "with no regrets or reservations."
Skelly's withdrawal from the race whittles the Democratic field down to two candidates, which means the race will likely have a clear winner after the primary, allowing the candidates to avoid the time and money required to mount an additional runoff campaign—with more than a dozen candidates in the race, the GOP suitors likely won't be so lucky without a candidate winning more than 50% of the initial ballots. Frequent Democratic candidate Ben Frasier remains as the other Democratic candidate on the ballot.
On Friday, the Colbert-Busch campaign announced that Elizabeth's brother, TV news satirist Stephen Colbert would make the trip to Charleston on February 23 for a series of fundraisers to support his big sister "Lulu," including a reception at The Alley and a private, $5,200-per-plate dinner (location TBD.)
In an email invitation to supporters, Stephen noted that his sis' prospective opponents included "former Governor and renowned hike-lover Mark Sanford. Our chances look good." He went on to concede that, "It is rare for me to take an active role in anyone's political ambitions other than my own." Colbert said that even, "beyond a brother's love, I truly believe Lulu is the best candidate to represent my beloved Lowcountry in the United States Congress." Colbert-Busch and her 10 siblings grew up in Charleston—Stephen is the youngest of the bunch.