Elizabeth Colbert Busch has a personal and professional history that makes her qualified to represent South Carolina's First Congressional District in Washington, D.C.
That's the familiar refrain from her campaign and from her brother, famous comedian Stephen Colbert. But there's another reason to vote for her, Colbert said on Sunday while speaking at the International Longshoremen's Association headquarters in Charleston.
"She is sane," he said. "It shouldn't be a banner headline, but I have interviewed a lot of members of Congress, and unfortunately it is."
Colbert Busch is favored to win the March 19 Democratic primary, and she'll face one of 16 Republicans vying for the seat once held by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-Charleston.
"This is the craziest state in the whole United States," Colbert said. "We invented political crazy in South Carolina. From John C. Calhoun to the jaw-dropping posibility that my sister's opponent will be the former Governor of the Appalachian Trail Mark Sanford. That's crazy."
The campaign touts Colbert Busch's business chops and her personal story of overcoming adversity. She was a maritime shipping executive before taking a development job with Clemson University, and she raised three children while putting herself through college.
"She's leading development of the Clemson University wind turbine drive train facility," Colbert said. "That was done through private-public partnership ... bringing people together for their mutual benefit. That seems like a sensible thing to do, but if you're paying attention to politics now, it's like splitting the atom."
Colbert Busch's famous name has raised her profile in the race. Though this race is her first of any kind, already two of her opponents have bowed out and endorsed her. A third Democrat, Ben Frasier, remains in the contest, but he's run unsuccessfully several times before.
Colbert's mention of his sister's candidacy on his own show and on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week has brought interest and campaign donations, her campaign says, but they have not disclosed a fundraising figure.
The energy behind her campaign is encouraging her supporters, though no Democrat has represented the First District in Congress since 1981, and in some years the party hasn't even fielded a candidate.
"It's very exciting," said Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Hricik. "She's not just some comedian's sister. ... She's a candidate that crosses over in so many places. She's an accomplished woman, she's a lifetime Charlestonian, she's an accomplished businessperson.
"There isn't a segment in this community that can't ... reach her and identify with her."
Editor's note: This article originally was published by Mount Pleasant Patch in South Carolina.