S.C. race pits Mark Sanford vs. Ted Turner’s son vs. Stephen Colbert’s sister

January 22, 2013

A couple of weeks back, we named South Carolina the most interesting state in politics.

And now the state is proving us right. That's because the field for the special election to fill appointed Sen. Tim Scott's (R-S.C.) House seat is nothing short of fascinating.

It includes:

1. Mark Sanford, a Republican former governor who got caught having an affair with a woman from Argentina. The media began asking questions when his office said his absence was due to "hiking the Appalachian Trail" -- and one of the greatest euphemisms in modern politics was born.

Sanford is also responsible for one of the most remarkable press conferences in political history. Basically every political reporter remembers where they were when Sanford delivered it. (And here's more on Sanford's bid and his prospects from FixSean.)

2. Teddy Turner, the son of liberal media mogul Ted Turner, is running as a Republican. And he's the first to go up on the air, launching an ad that notes he worked as a cameraman for CNN in the Soviet Union during the tail end of the Cold War. He's now a school teacher -- with a glorious mop of hair -- as evidenced by this video:

The New Republic has a longer profile of Teddy, in which it talks about Teddy's odd relationship with his father (his father once fired him), a time when he duped by a technology scam, and his failed bid to lead a crew on a nine-month sailboat trip around the world:

3. Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, the sister of famous faux news anchor Stephen Colbert. She's actually got a pretty serious life story, as shown by this Charleston Post-Courier profile from a couple years back. But her brother's shadow will undoubtedly be cast over the race -- regardless of whether he gives her the "Colbert bump."

4. The field also includes five current and former GOP state lawmakers, a local sheriff and a Charleston city councilman -- a packed field of experienced pols.

One candidate who opted not to run was former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel, who resigned in 2007 and served a brief jail sentence after being found guilty on cocaine charges. He briefly weighed a political comeback but said last week that he wouldn't run. Ravenel in 2011 appeared to renounce his American citizenship because he was unable to own a gun as a convicted felon.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Chris Cillizza · January 22, 2013