Could politics reunite the Sanfords under one roof?
Ex-Gov. Mark Sanford did not rule out a new political run when asked if he was interested in a 2014 race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim DeMint, who will resign next month to head the Heritage Foundation.
“It’s not a ‘no,’ but it’s not a ‘yes,’ ” he told The Wall Street Journal.
Now former S.C. first lady Jenny Sanford might be running for Congress, too, if Gov. Nikki Haley appoints U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, to fill DeMint’s seat.
No, she’s not a politician, Jenny told The (Charleston) Post and Courier, but she would “never really close any door completely.”
With Mark in the Senate and Jenny in House, both would be spending time under the same roof – the U.S. Capitol dome – for the first time since Jenny decamped from the Governor’s Mansion after Mark returned from that tryst with his Argentine “soul mate.”
A Colbert for Congress?
Another intriguing possible candidate for Scott’s Congress seat is a Colbert from Charleston. No, not that snarky Stephen on TV. But his big sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, business development director at Clemson’s Charleston wind turbine facility, is mulling a run, according to Democratic consultant Tyler Jones.
Colbert-Busch considered taking a shot at the seat in 2010 but decided not to run against Scott, Jones said. Colbert-Busch has business experience, mainly in the shipping business, and resources. (Plus, her brother could start another super PAC.)
The joke stops here
The Buzz’s stream of consciousness continues with an unsolicited suggestion for the guv.
Comedy Central fave Stephen Colbert got 2,000 of his sheep to tweet Haley on Thursday night in the first 10 minutes after he told viewers to pitch his candidacy for DeMint’s chair.
Well, call Mr. Smarty Pants’ bluff and send him to D.C.
While we know you already have spiked his request, governor, wipe that smirk off Colbert’s face for good.
Porter-Gaud boy would not last three days as he tries to compromise with Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, sits through subcommittee meetings on ag subsidies and hears from constituents demanding a nationwide ban on instant grits. He’d go running back to his studio, guv, and leave your Twitter account alone!
The DeMint sweepstakes, where things stand
The latest in the sweepstakes to be the next Jim DeMint?
There are the second-term congressmen: Tim Scott of Charleston and Mike Mulvaney of Indian Land. Scott, thought to be DeMint’s choice to become the South’s first African-American U.S. senator since Reconstruction, has been coy. Mulvaney has said he would say “yes.”
There is the supposed placeholder: Henry McMaster. The former S.C. attorney general stiff-armed The Buzz like George Rogers’ Heisman statue with “no comments” Saturday.
There is latest dark horse: political newcomer Catherine Templeton. The governor’s ally, who heads the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, could not be reached.
You won’t see the governor appointing herself. Haley says she is taking a pass.
Then, there’s Ralph Norman.
The York Republican state representative was standing outside Gov. Haley’s office an hour after DeMint announced Thursday that he would resign. Norman wanted to speak with his close ally about succeeding the GOP senator, but he didn’t get a chance. So, he chatted with Tim Pearson, the governor’s political adviser.
Norman – seen by some as a favorite because of his efforts to uphold Haley’s budget vetoes – said he has not been contacted by her office. But he hopes to meet with the governor this week. Norman, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House against Democrat John Spratt in 2006 and for S.C. House speaker in 2010, said he is not interested in being a placeholder – someone who would fill in for DeMint for less than two years but would not run in the 2014 election for the final two years of the senator’s term.
S.C. Dems seek 2014 cash
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen took his first trip to the West Coast last week in L.A., where he got to meet a celebrity – “Independence Day” president Bill Pullman. He also got to meet a bunch of people at a Democratic Governor’s Association meeting who want him to run for state CEO.
Sheheen said he learned more about how other states are tackling education and economic development, and chatted up leaders about wind farms and natural-resource tourism. Finally, Sheheen got around to saying he was among the association’s guests – the only one from South Carolina – being courted by Democratic guvs to join their ranks.
Like the woman he lost to a couple of years ago, Sheheen has not formally announced plans to run in 2014 – though a jaunt to Tinseltown seems to show a wee bit of interest to Buzz.
State Democratic boss Dick Harpootlian hopes that, between meeting with governors and rubbing elbows at the Democratic National Convention, Sheheen can help shake loose some national dollars to fight South Carolina’s red tide.
And to that, the possibility of a serious challenge for the Senate seat that belonged to DeMint in 2014 and the Palmetto blue crowd could see an influx of party bucks not seen since 1998, when Jim Hodges was the last Democrat elected governor of the state, Harpo said.
The Democratic poohbah, a big fundraiser in President Barack Obama’s re-election, is hoping for from $4 million to $5 million to boost candidates.
Harpo threw out a few U.S. Senate possibilities on his side of the ticket – state Reps. James Smith of Columbia and Leon Stavrinakis of Charleston and, maybe, Hodges. The Buzz thinks a lot will depend on who Haley picks for the Senate. But if the national Democrats throw in some cash, we expect a heck of a party in 2014.
Hugh wants a Graham
While Haley wants to appoint someone to the Senate with DeMint’s philosophy, which some would call uncompromising conservatism, state Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman suggests a replacement more like Lindsey Graham, whom some would call too compromising.
“They seem to be at an impasse and can’t get anything done,” the Florence Republican told his hometown paper, The Morning News, referring to Congress. “Not only does that not serve our state well it does not serve our country well. The only one who appears to be reach across the aisle any is Sen. Graham.”
The Buzz figures Graham probably has reason to feel pretty good right now, other than getting a bit of praise from the Pee Dee boss. Graham’s re-election prospects in 2014 got a shot in the arm with DeMint’s resignation. Candidates who might have challenged Graham now may try to grab DeMint’s seat – instead of his.
House’s game of musical chairs
This is state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter’s 21st year in the S.C. House. The Orangeburg Democrat is so powerful that many of her colleagues – sometimes affectionately and sometimes not – refer to her as the de facto speaker of the House.
But somebody forgot to tell House freshman MaryGail Douglas. The Fairfield Democrat – who succeeded the bombastic firebrand Boyd Brown – took the aisle seat that Cobb-Hunter formerly had occupied, near the front of the chamber Tuesday during the House’s reorganization session.
State lawmakers choose their desks in a highly scientific process that involves a 7-year-old girl drawing county names out of a fish bowl. (It’s a big deal. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, wrote the girl a note to get her out of school.)
When your county’s name is called, you pick out your seat.
The best seat in the House, the back left corner – close to the exit, and hidden from the cameras and gallery – went to Dorchester Republican Jenny Horne, who squealed as if she just had won the Powerball jackpot.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Nathan Ballentine, R-Richland, abandoned his lone Richland Republican colleague Kirkman Finlay. Ballentine, whose district spans Richland and Lexington counties, chose to sit with the Lexington County delegation because they are more "like-minded," he said.
That left Finlay to sit among the Richland County Democrats by himself. Good luck with that.
Staff writer Adam Beam contributed