Dave Weigel’s been in South Carolina since last week, covering the election Democrats never really expected to win:
UPDATE, 8:23 p.m.: Well, it’s basically over. Beaufort County, the Sanford soft spot, went for him by a 6-point margin—2,152 votes. Charleston County is tied, when Colbert Busch needs to be winning it.
So, basically: Mark Sanford (R) defeats Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D), 54-45 percent.
UPDATE, 7:43 p.m.: Having stopped very briefly into the Elizabeth Colbert Busch party, and finding a classy selection of mostly-white Democrats enjoying a soft jazz band, I drove over to Sanford’s party at Liberty Tavern in Mt. Pleasant. By that time, we’d received results from two counties: Four precincts in Berkeley (Sanford by 7 points so far) and all of Colleton (Sanford 70-29 over ECB.).
But about Colleton and its sole precinct here, Edisto Beach. In 2012, it went for Mitt Romney by a landslide, 496-160 votes. Sanford has won it 272-114. Instead of netting the usual Republican 336-vote margin, it went for Sanford by 158…
I hope that, for once, the Democratic Party takes these results as a reason to fight harder next time, rather than collapsing into a puddle of self-recrimination. I especially hope Colbert-Busch comes back for another race, because the voters liked her and her message:
MT. PLEASANT, S.C.—Elizabeth Colbert Busch votes in safe Republican turf, and that would be fine on its own if the press didn’t want to cover this. The head election official at her precinct walked over to me as I joined a throng covering the candidate and informed me, unsmiling-ly, that I needed to check in with him. He made a fitful effort to break up reporters who were standing in the way of voters—”OK, let’s go!” After the candidate left, and after departing cameramen stumbled over a VOTE HERE sign, the election official snapped at ECB handlers for not following “the system we keep here.” They’d walked in the wrong way.
I noticed this because it was the only rough reception ECB got. Leaving the polls, female voters unanimously told me that they had voted for her. (Other reporters found some older women who’d stuck with Sanford.) Sharron Bohn, a laid-off government employee, said she was for Colbert Busch ever since her name was floated, and it had nothing to do with Sanford’s scandal.
“I don’t agree with what he did with his personal life, but I don’t really care,” she shrugged. “It’s his politics that worry me—frugality out the wazoo. I’ve had enough of this politicians who smile at us as they tell us about all the programs they’re cutting and defunding.“..