For Lowcountry Democrats, 2008 was the election year that got away. In addition to being the year 54 percent of Charleston County voters picked Barack Obama for president, it was the first year in decades that the Democrats put up a serious challenger for South Carolina’s District 1 U.S. House seat.
Linda Ketner, a gifted speaker with a platform that included overhauling No Child Left Behind and protecting rivers from mercury contamination, almost claimed a seat in Congress that had been held by Republicans since the beginning of the Reagan era. Ketner lost by a mere four points to Republican incumbent Henry Brown.
This year, as 16 contenders duke it out for the Republican nomination in a special election to fill Tim Scott’s vacated House seat, the Democrats look like they’ll be putting their money on Elizabeth Colbert Busch. A newcomer to the political arena, Colbert Busch has built a career in international shipping and spent the last few years working as director of business development for Clemson University’s Restoration Institute.
Colbert Busch bears a few similarities to Ketner, the first of which is obvious: She’s a woman. If elected, Colbert Busch would be the first woman to hold the District 1 seat since Democratic Rep. Clara Gooding McMillan (1939-1941).
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