The special election for the 1st Congressional District isn’t South Carolina’s only political topic at the moment.
Jason Grant Smith will be previewing “I Voted?,” his documentary on electronic voting machines, at three locations across the state beginning this weekend.
Arranged by the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council, the showing schedule is:
- Sunday, May 5 in West Columbia
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Conundrum Music Hall (626 Meeting St
Moderated by Corey Hutchins of Columbia’s Free Times
- Tuesday, May 7 in Greenville
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Coffee Underground (1 E Coffee St
Moderated by Journal Watchdog
’s Charlie Sowell
- Thursday, May 9 in Charleston
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Gage Hall (4 Archdale St
Moderated by Paul Bowers of Charleston City Paper
A Q&A session will follow the screening of select clips of “I Voted?” (See preview below.) There is no charge to attend at any location, but tax-deductible donations to aid completion of the documentary are welcome.
Actor/director Smith’s inspiration for the non-partisan film was the strange results of a 2010 South Carolina election.
In June of that year, a prominent and much-respected candidate lost the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate to an unemployed Manning resident who was awaiting trial for obscenity charges.
“Obviously, something bizarre was taking place and I wanted to try and understand it,” Smith says.
Smith’s research led him on a track of untraceable voting results produced by electronic voting machines, which are used in 16 states.
“I had no idea that 24 percent of the country uses touch-screen systems that are paperless and cannot be audited or recounted,” he says.
Not just a historical recap, Smith hopes “I Voted?” can inspire correction to the most principle right of voting.
“We could change elections dramatically with a federal mandate for evidence-based elections, meaning elections that can be completely reconstructed utilizing a voter-marked, durable record of intent and risk-limiting audits.”
Helping Smith schedule the upcoming screenings is another Smith, activist Susan Smith of Pawley’s Island (no relation), who also helped the director make contacts with key persons during the production of the documentary.
Also booking these events was Chris Cherry, SCDWC’s Director of Communications.
The film is still under final production, and donations to aid its completion can be offered through its website
(image from Red Racing Horses; click for larger view)
A survey released on May 2 found that his extramarital affair didn’t just cost him divorce, and his violation of the divorce settlement isn’t just costing him a trip to court two days after the election, either.
Mark Sanford’s personal record could cost him the upcoming special election, too, the survey by Red Racing Horses
The sum results found the Republican nominee in a 46-46 tie with Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. Seven percent remain undecided.
Were Sanford replaced by another Republican, however – state Sen. Larry Grooms, who placed third in the GOP primary
– Colbert-Busch would only take 40 percent, RRH says, trailing Grooms’ 47 with 13 percent undecided.
“The closeness of the race in the normally Republican district is almost certainly due exclusively to Republican ex-Gov. Mark Sanford’s personal issues,” RRH says in its poll release.
In 2009, Sanford was caught traveling to Argentina to meet his then-mistress
; he was later fined $74,000
for using state funds to pay for those trips, as well other violations.
A recent charge of violating divorce terms by trespassing on his ex-wife’s property
will be heard in family court on May 9, two days after the election for the 1st Congressional District.
The poll finds Sanford to lead in the suburban Berkeley and Dorchester counties by sizable margins, but also finds a Colbert Busch advantage in the larger Charleston and Beaufort.
The Democrat has a slight lead amongst female voters, and holds a considerable margin over Sanford in the opinions of minorities.
The surveying company admits a Republican lean, it should be noted, as can be found in its tagline (“Candidates, elections, and politics from the right perspective") and "about" statement ("Red Racing Horses is a collaborative, Republican-oriented online community of politics and election enthusiasts.").
Other polls on the race lean toward Colbert Busch, including the most recent by the progressive Public Policy Polling, which found her to lead Sanford by nine percent
PPP was rated most accurate
in poll results regarding 2012 elections.
RRH conducted its survey of 5,000 likely voters between April 29 and May 1, and says its findings have +/- 5 percent margin of error.
(click for larger image)
He recently made his satirical support for Mark Sanford by online video, but on May 1 Larry Flynt revealed that an actual print ad of his endorsement was rejected by two news publications in Charleston, SC.
An advertisement referring to Sanford as “America’s great sex pioneer” was refused by the Post & Courier and Charleston City Paper, the publisher of Hustler magazine said today in a press release.
"I was surprised and dismayed that a distinguished newspaper like the Post & Courier decided to act as a censor and refused to publish my paid advertisement endorsing Mark Sanford for Congress,” Flynt’s release says. “I was even more surprised when the publisher of the Charleston City Paper also refused my family-friendly advertisement(.)”
He resorted to a video recording of his endorsement
, which was released on April 30. (Click here to see video
In the sarcastic endorsement, Flynt referred to Sanford’s infamous Argentine affair
, saying he supports the Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District “not for his character, but for exposing the hypocrisy of traditional values.”
Calling their rejection of his ad an indication of censorship, in today’s release Flynt says the two local print journals “now stand as the leading examples of hypocrisy in America regarding the First Amendment.”
The Post & Courier is operated by the Evening Post Publishing Company, and endorses Republicans in elections more frequently than other parties’ candidates. The weekly Charleston City Paper is regarded to be more progressive in content, though, and without any partisan slant.
While City Paper did post the video and original press release to its website
on May 1, publisher Noel Mermer told his own publication’s Sam Spence that he “rejected (the print advertisement) on the grounds that I thought it was an inappropriate mockery of our local election.”
Its editor and advertising director both say the ad should have been accepted
Today’s press release repeats Flynt’s wry support for the former governor: “I have endorsed Mark Sanford because he is America’s great sex pioneer for exposing the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values.”
Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, endorsed congressional candidate Mark Sanford on April 30.
His endorsement of the Republican in South Carolina’s 1st District race carries an apparent sarcastic intent, however.
“I am endorsing Mark Sanford for U.S. Congress because no one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today,” Flynt states in his video endorsement. (See video below.)
Referring to the infamous Argentine affair
that closed Sanford’s career as South Carolina governor, Flynt continues “his attack on sexual hypocrisy is the only issue in this campaign.
“Placing sex at the top the agenda, he continues his courageous fight, demanding forgiveness while brazenly hugging his mistress at campaign parties.”
Sanford’s now-fiancée appeared with him
on the evening of the April 2 GOP runoff election.
Flynt also takes a swipe at Sanford’s supporters: “I want to commend the voters…who support Mark Sanford.
“They have rejected the false teachings of their Bible-thumping preachers and tossed the false sanctity of marriage into the trashcan,” the ad reads.
Flynt notes his offering of a $2,600 donation to the campaign of Sanford, whom he sarcastically calls “America’s great sex pioneer.”
While his ad is obviously against the GOP nominee, it doesn’t fully represent Flynt’s political alignment; Flynt once ran as a Republican for the office of California governor in a 2003 special election
In other political activities, in 1996 Flynt offered monetary reward
to anyone who could offer news on sex scandals involving national politicians, which eventually led to the resignation of Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) regarding his extramarital affair during the height of similar news about Pres. Clinton.
(Serving the 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives at the same time of these revelations, Sanford voted to impeach Clinton
and publicly called for Livingston to resign
.) In 2012 Flynt offered the same $1 million reward
for details on the income tax returns of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and to anyone who would confirm an extramarital affair with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The special election that features Republican candidate Sanford is set for May 7.
The most recent polls
show Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert-Busch to have a nine-point lead.
Buzzfeed recently noticed
a similarity between the (non-homemade) campaign signs of Mark Sanford and the flag of Argentina. See both below:
The light blue banners running across the top and bottom, with that white-colored center that hosts the logo/image, sure are similar, alright.
But doesn't that only bring to mind Sanford's infamous (and extramarital) excursion to Argentina? And which he himself only brought up all over again when his Argentine girlfriend joined him onstage for the night of the GOP runoff election?
Was the use of this logo on campaign signs a psychosomatic slip or Freudian error, or is it just Sanford's latest tongue-in-cheek?
Here's a merged combination of the two images:
What does Nancy Pelosi have to do with Elizabeth Colbert-Busch? Not a thing.
Try telling that to Mark Sanford, however, whose full-page ad in the April 21 edition of Charleston’s Post & Courier attempts to tie them together.
In his advertisement, Sanford makes that truth-twisting name-drop four times, including “Pelosi’s PAC.”
But the California congresswoman’s “PAC to the Future” has made no contribution to Democratic candidate in South Carolina’s special election for the 1st Congressional District.
PAC to the Future has contributed to other campaigns but not a dime to Colbert Busch, as its records show (1
). Those filings are only through March 31, but the local campaign also confirms no donation from that political action committee throughout the entire election cycle, too.
“We have not received any contributions from PAC to the Future,” says Ann Beser, a senior campaign advisor to Colbert Busch.
Pelosi hasn’t contributed personally, either.
The Sanford ad also refers to “Pelosi’s committee” making contributions to Colbert Busch, but that’s another error. In her role of Minority Leader
, Pelosi doesn’t serve on committees outside of congress.
She’s also not on the Democratic Congressional Candidate Committee
, which is another frequently-dropped name in Sanford’s advertisement. She’s not even part of its “Women LEAD” program
So why is Sanford’s campaign attempting these falsehoods?
Well, it seems he’s banking on an assumed negativity that some might associate with Pelosi.
In 2010 when she was Speaker of the House, for example, Pelosi’s nation-wide public approval rating had slipped down to 29 percent, a Gallup poll reported
That was actually higher than approval for Congress overall
, though. And Pelosi’s won all of her congressional campaigns by huge margins, only twice taking less than 80 percent of the vote
, so she’s apparently well-approved by her own constituency.
Sanford might also be relying on public opinion of Pelosi to be liberal in attempt to associate her with Colbert Busch with negative intentions in this more conservative district.
Actual liberals disagree, however, including liberal organizations and the liberal congresspersons with whom Pelosi has frequently squabbled
over particular bills.
Or maybe after losing so many female voters due to his publicized extramarital affair, coupled with more recent news of continued disrespect for his now ex-wife
, Sanford might just be trying to build up male voter support by comparing female Colbert-Busch to female Pelosi.
But if that’s the case, maybe he should remember that 55 percent of the registered voters in this district are female
This April 21 ad also distorts historical facts.
Comparing himself to the William Travis, who led Texas Army troops in the Battle of the Alamo, Sanford cites the date of this historical event to be March of 1863, even though it actually took place in February and March of 1836
(Sanford’s comparison is partially correct, however; Travis walked out on his pregnant wife and son
, then claimed on public records that he was single, then proceeded to have an affair with another woman.)
This Sunday ad isn’t the first instance of his campaign issuing falsehoods (which are completely allowed in political advertisements
For example, his most recent television ad also includes false information
, claiming a union that donated to Colbert-Busch’s campaign “tried to shut down Boeing and ship 1,000 jobs out of South Carolina
That IAMAW union did no such thing, however, and had even included specific terms in its legal complaint specifying that it did not seek effect on the company’s North Charleston facility.
So where will these and other stunts leave him? In second place, apparently.
If he’d like to gain any support from anyone, Sanford should begin telling the truth.
A new poll finds Elizabeth Colbert-Busch to have support from 50 percent of likely voters
Released on April 22, the report from Public Policy Polling says the Democratic candidate has a nine-point lead over Republican Mark Sanford.
This marks improvement for Colbert Busch in comparison to the same company’s poll from four weeks ago
, when she only led Sanford by two (47 to 45).
Recent negative news
may be partially responsible for Sanford’s four-point drop in support. A slight majority (51 percent) say learning of his violation of divorce settlement terms
made them doubt his suitability for public office.
Colbert Busch’s reputation has improved independently, as well; 56 percent of respondents noted positive regard for her in the most recent poll, versus only 45 in last month’s.
This gain apparently comes from voters who were unsure of their opinion in March, as Colbert-Busch’s unfavorable rating from 31 percent of respondents remains unchanged.
Green Party candidate Eugene Platt scored low in the poll, but could have been lower were it not for Sanford’s reputation.
Scoring three percent overall, he was selected by four percent of respondents who identified themselves as Republicans and seven percent of conservatives, who apparently grant Platt their support only as rejection of Sanford.
Part of his decline is not the sole fault of Sanford, though, Public Policy Polling notes.
In its release of the recent poll data, the company offers “it’s interesting to note that there is some backlash against Republicans over last week’s vote on background checks.”
Eighty-six percent of the poll’s respondents said they favor required background checks on persons who buy guns at gun shows, and 72 percent stated strong favorability.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate recently voted against a bill
that would have enforced such background checks, however.
“Forty-five percent of voters say the GOP’s opposition to (background checks) makes it less likely they’ll support the party in the next election,” Public Policy found.
The survey was conducted April 19-21, and has margin of error of 3.5 percent.
A Sanford campaign sign in Summerville's Hutchinson Square.
The recent “Third Thursday” celebration in Summerville brought in its normal crowd of hundreds of locals. And joining them on April 18 was none other than Mark Sanford.
The Republican congressional candidate wasn’t exactly warmly received that evening, though, say some attendees.
One, a retired Navy lieutenant who asked not to be identified by name, said she watched Sanford walk along W Richardson Ave. for the monthly event sponsored by Summerville D.R.E.A.M.
He had no campaign staff or volunteers with him, and Sanford remained alone in the crowd, too, she said.
“When folks recognized him, they would cross the street,” according to the veteran. Some turned their backs to walk away, she said. “Nobody approached him.”
Another witness, a 46-year-old man who attended the last “Third Thursday,” also said most patrons were avoiding Sanford. “He looked like the number nine on my microwave oven – rarely touched.”
Sanford did succeed in at least one handshake, the Navy veteran witnessed, but only after what she describes as inducement.
“He approached (a restaurant manager) who was standing in front of the restaurant, held out his hand, and said ‘Hi, I’m Mark Sanford.’
“(The manager) wouldn’t take his hand. He just looked him in the eye and said ‘I know who you are.’
“’Aren’t you going to shake my hand?’ (Sanford) asked.”
The restaurant manager did, but slowly and with a grim look on his face, the Navy vet says.
The retired lieutenant says she later saw Sanford putting up his own campaign signs in Hutchinson Square near the corner of W Richardson and N Main St.
Not a Sanford supporter herself, the incident did move her to grant him sympathy.
“It was sad.”
The Charleston Central Labor Council is challenging the validity of recent advertisements of Mark Sanford’s congressional campaign, and on April 18 formally asked for a retraction of the ads with corrective statement.
A new television commercial attacks Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert-Busch for accepting donations from labor unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aeronautical Workers.
That same union “tried to shut down Boeing and ship a thousand jobs out of South Carolina,” the Sanford commercial says
Sanford has issued public statements
of the same sentiment, and last week the state Republican Party issued direct mail ads that make similar claims.
All of the claims are false, however, says Erin McKee, president of the CLC.
“On behalf of (CLC), I formally request that Sanford, his campaign and the SCGOP retract those incorrect statements, and that those advertisements be withdrawn from further distribution and airing.”
Sanford’s claim about Boeing and IAMAW refers to the new production facility in North Charleston. In its press release, CLC offers documentation that refutes Sanford’s claim.
In 2009 after projection of increased need, Boeing began a search of existing facilities or creation of new ones to produce 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It eventually settled on North Charleston.
In 2010 Boeing executive Jim Albaugh said to press
that a facility in Everett, Wa. was excluded from that search because of the IAMAW union at that location.
That public statement indicating retaliation against a union violates terms of the National Labor Relations Act
, however. The IAMAW chapter in Everett then filed legal complaint that year.
In its complaint, the union requested as compensation that any secondary production of 787s
the North Charleston facility couldn’t accommodate would go to its Everett facility.
An anti-labor movement, including Republican members of congress who even came to Charleston for a hearing on this matter in 2011
, incorrectly insinuated that the complaint would cause a shutdown of Boeing’s local plant.
IAMAW quickly refuted, however. Seattle district president Tom Wroblewski said in June 2011
, “if Boeing tries to shut down its North Charleston operations, my union will stand with the employees of South Carolina to stop it. Because the fact is, the only one in the room suggesting that the North Charleston plant will close is Boeing itself(.)”
In late 2011, after approval of a new contract in Everett, the union withdrew its complaint
“Not once did IAMAW request a ‘shut down’ of, or any jobs from, the North Charleston facility, which had nothing to do with its complaint,” McKee says in the CLC press release. “At no time were any South Carolina jobs at risk.
“The (CLC) requests that Sanford and the state Republican Party not attempt to hide behind the lack of subjectivity of ‘truth in advertising’ laws to political campaigns, and ask that they issue corrective statements and cease broadcast and distribution of ads that contain this incorrect information.”