Mark Sanford 'debates' poster during first of many appearances for him, Elizabeth Colbert Busch today
Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch appeared before about 200 supporters, mostly women, at Burke High School tonight and asked them for their money, time and vote on May 7.
“It's real,” she told the rally —organized in part by a nonprofit seeking to increase the number of female office holders in South Carolina. “It's our opportunity, and we're going to bring it home to the 1st District.”
Earlier in the day, she unveiled her “Republicans for Elizabeth Colbert Busch” effort that featured just two voters, neither of whom have held office before and apparently didn't support Mark Sanford in the recent GOP primary.
One of the two women, Leslie Turner, said she most recently voted for Mitt Romney in the presidential election but said she also gave $250 to Barack Obama's presidential bid in 2007.
It was because a friend was hosting a fundraiser, said Turner, who is chairing the group.
The other woman, Glenda Miller of Seabrook Island, said she voted for John Kuhn and Curtis Bostic in the recent GOP primaries. She cited Sanford disappearing to Argentina as one of her reasons.
The announcement came at Colbert Busch's West Ashley headquarters where she said she is trying to attract support from voters of all backgrounds.
Her event followed a morning press conference where Sanford “debated” a poster of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today as a means of calling out Colbert Busch for not debating him in the 1st Congressional District race.
“You can be all things to all people if you haven't said where you are on the issues,” Sanford said today in front of the Medical University of South Carolina.
The press conference was similar to the showing Clint Eastwood did at the Republican National Convention, when he debated an empty stool meant to depict President Barack Obama.
Democrat Colbert Busch's campaign issued a response afterward, calling the event part of Sanford's “desperate campaign to deceive voters.”
“Elizabeth Colbert Busch is spending her time with real people who support her campaign,” the note said, adding that today she is featuring a group of Republicans who support her and a rally at Burke High School.
“She doesn't have to resort to phony cardboard cutouts to talk with the people of South Carolina,” the response said.
Sanford has repeatedly pressed Colbert Busch for more debates. He also chastised the media for not being more pointed in pushing for more public face-offs. The two will meet for the first time, face-to-face, Monday at The Citadel.
The Pelosi photograph poster stood about 5 feet tall. Sanford said a vote for Colbert Busch would also be a vote for Pelosi, the former House leader.
Sanford said he chose the MUSC for a backdrop because it was where the candidates were supposed to meet last week. In the background was MUSC's Dr. James Colbert Education Center and Library, named after Colbert Busch's father.
“You guys can always find the subtleties in anything,” Sanford told the assembled media.
The press conference was the first of many appearances in the Lowcountry today for both candidates. Following his 10 a.m. “debate” with the Pelosi cutout, Sanford visited Duncan Ace Hardware in Goose Creek, where he mingled with about two dozen voters.
Their conversations didn't delve deep into issues, but most seemed glad for a chance to greet him. Fred Holsclaw of Goose Creek gave Sanford a demonstration of a deer call whistle he made.
Colbert Busch will conclude the day with a 5:45 p.m. “Lean In and Stand Up with Elizabeth” rally at Burke High School — an event aimed at her female supporters.
Sanford also will attend the Friends of Scouting luncheon around noon in Pinopolis and then stop by the Barony House restaurant in Moncks Corner at 12:30.
The two candidates are locked in a tight battle as their May 7 special election approaches. Green party candidate Eugene Platt also will be on the ballot.