Rothenberg: Colbert’s Sister an Underdog, but Worth Watching

Elizabeth Colbert Busch hopes to win a special election for Congress this year. That’s possible but also unlikely, as it would take something close to a political “perfect storm” for the Democrat to win the reliably Republican House seat in South Carolina.

Of course, you wouldn’t know that from all the ink she has received. She is, after all, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who has generated plenty of attention for the Charleston-based businesswoman, no matter how uphill her challenge. Political reporters, you see, love celebrities, and that includes relatives of celebrities.

Although Colbert Busch downplays her brother’s significance, her candidacy wouldn’t be taken seriously without him; his name and connections will generate media attention and campaign contributions for her.

I haven’t interviewed her yet, but Colbert Busch seems personable and isn’t saddled with an extensive legislative record to defend. Her assets include few obvious liabilities (so far): the ability to portray herself as a businesswoman and political outsider, and the potential ability to put together a well-funded campaign.

Those qualities, plus the possibility of a damaged GOP nominee and a divided Republican Party, are reason enough to watch the race.

Unfortunately for Colbert Busch, all of those assets don’t entirely offset her one large liability: She is a Democrat.

South Carolina’s 1st District has been held by the GOP since 1980. The recently redrawn district gave President Barack Obama slightly more than 40 percent of the vote, about 2.5 points less than he earned four years earlier.

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