Ballot Research

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Feb 2013

The Special Election Special

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Filing closed a week ago on Monday, January 28th, for candidates running in SC’s 1st U.S. Congressional District Special Election. This election is being held to replace the seat of former U.S. Representative Tim Scott (R.) when he resigned and was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat following Jim DeMint’s resignation in Dec. 2012. The primaries will be held on March 19, 2013, a runoff (if necessary) would be held on April 2, 2013, and the general election will be on May 7, 2013.

Special elections are often perceived to give newcomers or less-well-known hopefuls a greater chance both to file as a candidate and to achieve victory, although the large number of filed candidates this year could thwart the aspirations of many simply due to too many choices of too similar candidates. With a whopping 16-candidate list on the Republican primary ballot (making a runoff likely) and a much more tightly contested Democratic ballot, this special election season should prove an interesting one.

We’ve compiled a directory for all of the 19 candidates, with a brief bio and reference links, so you’ll have all you need to stay informed and connected. We’ll also keep you updated as the election nears with news and ballot information, but in the meantime, take a look at the candidates below and tell us what you think in the comment section, on Facebook, or via Twitter (@voterheads).

Democratic Party Candidates

See the Charleston Democratic Party website for an updated event calendar for these candidates.

Elizabeth Colbert Busch: A newcomer to politics, Colbert-Busch does not yet have a voting or issue record we can report to you on. She is highly involved South Carolina business and education, especially in the Low Country, and currently works for Clemson University and advises the College of Charleston.

Ben Frasier, Jr.: Frasier is a frequent and controversial candidate in S.C. politics and caused an upset in 2010 when he beat Robert Burton in the First U.S. Congressional District Democratic Primary. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn accused Frasier of being a Republican plant in the 2010 election along with controversial Alvin Greene. In 2010, he voiced support for the right to bear arms and opposition to organized labor. A sample of his statements in 2008 on some issues can be found here.

Martin Skelly: Skelly is also new to politics, coming from a successful business career with international companies. He has worked in London and Moscow and currently lives in West Ashley. He has pledged $250,000 of his own money towards his campaign.

GOP Candidates

To see news and event information regarding these candidates and an ongoing poll comparing popular support, see

Keith Blandford: Blandford ran for Congress on the Libertarian ticket in 2010 and 2012, and is currently running on a dual-ticket (Libertarian and Republican). He follows many of the principles advocated by Ron Paul, and among his opinions are his opposition to the IRS (he would replace the income tax with a sales tax) and his desire to promote a more free market in the U.S. He is currently the Vice President/Lead Environmental Scientist for the Warrick Group.

Curtis Bostic: Bostic served two terms on the Charleston County Council, during which he co-sponsored the Charleston County Greenbelt Bank program in 2004. He served in the Marines and currently heads international charity operations.

Ric Bryant: Another newcomer to politics, Bryant is an engineer living in Hanahan. He supports tax code simplification, family and community enrichment programs, and small government.

Larry Grooms: Grooms has been a Republican member of the S.C. Senate, representing the 37th District, since 1997. He is a life member of the NRA and the National Association of Texaco and Shell Marketers, and his policies are strongly conservative and faith-based. He wants to eliminate the Federal Department of Education to make education purely a state concern, which is just one of his stances against federal government.

Jonathan Hoffman: A business owner and educator, Hoffman served as the Director of Border Security at the White House under President George W. Bush, has worked in the U.S. Department of State, and is currently an adjunct professor at the Citadel and the Charleston School of Law. He currently works as a security consultant for businesses and governments.

Jeff King: Another first-timer to politics, King lives in Goose Creek and wants to restrict the size of government, opposes gun control, and promote the conservative values of the outgoing Tim Scott. He is currently a systems engineer contractor for the military.

John Kuhn: Not to be mistaken for the pro football player, Kuhn is a Charleston-based tax and estate planning attorney and was elected to be a South Carolina State Senator in 2001, serving four years. The Charleston City Paper has written that one cause for his failure to retain his Senate seat was arguing with Jenny Sanford. He is against Obamacare and gun control and promises to fight for infrastructure investment. He wants to secure federal funding to finish the dredging of Charleston harbor.

Tim Larkin: Another newcomer to politics, Larkin serves in the Army National Guard and has served in Afghanistan. He works for a Department of Defense contractor in North Charleston and leads a team of Cyber-Security professionals for US Government programs.

Chip Limehouse: Limehouse is a real estate broker and has served in the SC House since 1995 (representing the 110th District). He wants to cut taxes, defines himself as Pro-Family and Pro-Life, and strongly opposes gun control, having been rated an A+ by the NRA.

Peter McCoy: McCoy has served in the SC House since 2010 (representing the 115th District) and while in office has supported charter schools and pro-job and pro-business bills scored by the Chamber of Commerce. A member of the NRA and a former criminal prosecutor, he is an avid hunter and currently works as an attorney.

Elizabeth Moffly: Small business owner and real estate agent, Moffly is also a Trustee on the Charleston County School Board and was a candidate for SC Superintendent of Education in 2006 and 2010. She has also served as Republican Party Precinct Chair and VP and advocates reduced government and limited business restraints.

Ray Nash: Nash is a law enforcement professional and executive who served for twelve years as the elected Sheriff of Dorchester County, and he has also recently served three years in Afghanistan as the U.S. Embassy’s criminal justice advisor.

Andy Patrick: Patrick has represented District 123 in the SC House since 2011. He has served in the Air Force and spent most of his career working for the Secret Service before retiring to Hilton Head, SC, in 2007, where he is now the CEO of Advance Point Global, Inc., an international security and risk management firm.

Shawn Pinkston: Local attorney Pinkston is also a newcomer to politics, although he has worked in communications for elected Republican officials of Kentucky. He also served in the US Army and promotes reducing business regulations and shrinking the size of government.

Mark Sanford: Sanford served as the Governor of SC from 2003 to 2011, and before that, from 1995-2001, he held the U.S. Representative seat for which he is now running. During his previous Congressional tenure, he maintained a very conservative voting record and earned a lifetime rating of 92 (out of 100) by the American Conservative Union. Most recently, he is known for a scandal with his Argentinian mistress, to whom he is now engaged.

Teddy Turner: Another newcomer to politics, businessman and economics teacher Teddy Turner, son of media magnate and democratic-leaning Ted Turner, does not have a voting/issue record to date. He credits his time working as a CNN reporter in the Soviet Union for helping him develop his conservative stances.

Shelby Switzer
Shelby Switzer

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