Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch (L) and former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford discuss issues during their South Carolina 1st Congressional debate in Charleston, South Carolina April 29, 2013. (Photo : Reuters)
Elizabeth Colbert Busch now trails Mark Sanford by a single point a day before the special House election in South Carolina tomorrow.
The results of a new Public Policy Polling survey show 47 percent of respondents plan to vote for Sanford, while 46 percent plan to vote for Colbert Busch. This comes only two weeks after the same poll showed Colbert Busch with a 9-point lead over Sanford.
The First District of South Carolina is heavily conservative; the area went for Mitt Romney by 18 points in last year's presidential election.
But Republicans have been saddled with a dearth of good candidates. Former Governor Mark Sanford is unpopular because of an extramarital affair funded with public money in 2009 and a forced resignation in 2010. But he has name recognition, so he won the primary.
Then allegations leaked that Sanford had been caught trespassing at his ex-wife's home on several occasions, tanking his poll numbers and sending Colbert Busch surging ahead.
She has much higher likability numbers than Sanford, but voters in the district are loath to elect a Democrat. Sanford has focused his campaign rhetoric on tying his opponent to national Democrats, particularly Nancy Pelosi, who is often vilified as a standard bearer for the "Obama agenda" in conservative circles.
Ironically, Sanford lost the support of national Republicans when the trespassing charges came to light, but his tactic is working, and he has edged back into the lead.
Republican turnout, which was depressed over the last two weeks, has begun to return to normal levels. While Democrats are excited at the prospect of winning a seat, and therefore more likely to vote in this election, the result tomorrow will depend on the number of Republicans who make it to the polls.
Whatever the outcome, victory may be short-lived for the winner. They must run again to keep their seat in 2014, and the national parties will be sure to bring a new slate of candidates.