Sanford has slight cash advantage in run up to 1st District special election



CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has a slight edge in cash heading into the final days of the heated congressional race in the state’s 1st District although his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, has raised more money, Federal Election Commission filings show.

The reports filed this week show that the Republican Sanford had about $285,000 in his campaign war chest as of April 17. Colbert Busch had about $255,000.

But the reports indicate that both candidates have similar resources for the campaign for the vacant seat in the district along the state’s south coast.

Colbert Bush has raised about $1.2 million to about $790,000 for Sanford during the campaign cycle. But while Colbert Busch started from scratch, Sanford had $272,000 from his old election accounts to begin the campaign. Sanford, however, had to battle through a 16-way primary and then win a runoff to advance to face Colbert Busch.

The figures don’t reflect contributions in recent days. 

Colbert Busch’s brother, comedian Stephen Colbert, the host of The Colbert Report on the Comedy Channel, returns to his hometown of Charleston today for a private fundraising event. For $1,500 a person or $2,600 a couple, patrons get a private dinner, reception and photos with the entertainer.

The third candidate in the race is Green Party candidate Eugene Platt. There was no filing in his name on the FEC Web site on Friday.

Sanford and Colbert Busch have their first debate next week, which is also their first joint appearance of the campaign.

The two meet Monday evening at The Citadel in a faceoff sponsored by the Patch news service, the South Carolina Radio Network and Charleston television station WCBD. Organizers announced Friday the debate will be telecast on the C-SPAN public affairs network. It will also be streamed on the Internet.

On Tuesday, the candidates appear at two forums where each will speak, but those appearances are not formal debates.

The special election to fill the House seat once held by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is May 7.

The seat became vacant last year when sitting U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to become the head of a conservative think tank. Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Scott to his seat.