While Mark Sanford is getting all the attention — NPR wants to talk to me about him tomorrow — he is actually but one of 16 candidates officially seeking the GOP nomination in the 1st Congressional District.
I’m thinking that’s gotta be a record, at least in a special election, and at least in South Carolina. Lord knows our cup runneth over with Republicans these days, and it’s no biggie for six or seven of them to go chasing after a choice situation on the public payroll, but sixteen?
Only four of whom I really know anything at all about. In descending order of what I know about them, they are Sanford, Larry Grooms, Chip Limehouse and Elizabeth Moffly. After Sanford, though, my knowledge drops off extremely. All I remember, without looking back in my blog, about Larry Grooms is that he wanted Fred Thompson to run for president in 2008, and I saw him at Rick Perry’s announcement in 2011 (after supporting Perry, he later very publicly urged him to drop out). I know that Elizabeth Moffly ran for state superintendent once, so I interviewed her, and she later wrote me an angry note that sort of puzzled me at the time.
With Limehouse — well, I knew I had read and even written about him in the past, but I had to go back and search my archive to remember particulars. I found that he supported Rick Perry. He pushed for creation of a special SC license plate that commemorated “Big Red,” the flag under which Citadel students fired on the Star of the West, which was trying to resupply Fort Sumter, in the most extreme, inexcusable, violent incidence of student unrest in U.S. history. He was endorsed by the Club for Growth. He sponsored a bill to make the Marsh Tacky the official South Carolina Heritage horse.
What else do I know about this field? Well, I saw a remarkable picture that ran Feb. 10 in the Post and Courier that showed 15 of the 16 standing together (screenshot above — here’s the original). I saw that all were white (in a race to replace Tim Scott) and Elizabeth Moffly was the only woman. That’s about all I could tell.
Here, according to Wikipedia, are the 16:
- Keith Blandford, businessman
- Curtis Bostic, former Charleston County Councilman
- Ric Bryant, engineer
- Larry Grooms, state Senator
- Jonathan Rath Hoffman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, Director of Border Security at the White House and Attorney
- John Kuhn, former state Senator
- Jeff King, engineer for a military contractor.
- Tim Larkin, defense engineer and member of the South Carolina Army National Guard
- Chip Limehouse, State Representative
- Peter McCoy, state Representative
- Elizabeth Moffly, member of the Charleston County School Board
- Ray Nash, Former Dorchester County Sheriff
- Andy Patrick, state Representative
- Shawn Pinkston, attorney
- Mark Sanford, former Governor of South Carolina and former U.S. Representative
- Robert “Teddy” Edward Turner IV, high school teacher and son of businessman Ted Turner
I assume that’s accurate and inclusive. I haven’t found a complete list in the MSM. Mind you, there were 16 others who were talked about as candidates, but who declined to run. That included Jenny Sanford, Tom Davis, Jim Merrill, Carroll Campbell III, Thomas Ravenel and Chip Campsen. That’s actually a better-known bunch than most of the people who actually filed.
And what happens after that? Well, normally in that district, the Republican wins. That’s been the case since Tommy Hartnett in 1980. Which is why so many are seeking the nomination of that party, I suppose. Of course, a Democrat came within a couple of points in 2008, with Obama’s coattails. There aren’t going to be any Obama coattails this time.
Sanford, of course, has the advantage in the GOP contest, by far. Not only does common sense dictate that, but every poll I’ve seen reported. Here’s one. But right now, I’m putting more stock in the common sense thing.
The primary’s next month, and the special election is in May.