Stephen Colbert’s dream of being appointed to replace South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott in Congress may not have come to fruition but that doesn’t mean the Colbert clan has given up on representing the Palmetto State in the nation’s Capitol. The Washington Post reports that the Comedy Central star’s sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, has informed the South Carolina Democratic Party that her soon-to-be-official campaign will file paperwork Tuesday to run in the special election to fill Scott’s old seat.
Colbert-Bush is mostly an unknown quantity nationally, but this 2010 profile in the Charleston Post and Courier flagged by WaPo provides some interesting background:
Her father and two of her brothers were killed in a plane crash when she was 19. She was married to a man who ended up on “America’s Most Wanted.” And in 2001, while at a business conference in New York City, she was sitting in a building directly across the street from the World Trade Center when two jetliners slammed into its twin towers, forever changing the landscape of America.
But looking into her sparkling brown eyes, you’d never know this woman has seen enough tragedy for two lifetimes. Her infectious laugh fills the room as she talks about her children. Her face lights up every time she mentions Claus, her second husband and the man she calls the love of her life. And when she talks about her job, she speaks with a passion so great, you’d swear her boss was sitting next to her.
As director of business development for Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, Colbert-Busch is, for lack of a better term, the school’s corporate matchmaker. She finds companies that could benefit from the kind of advanced environmentally conscious research the university is doing — wind turbine testing, water studies, different kinds of renewable energy — and partners with them. More to the point, she asks them for money. In return, the corporations get the kind of cutting-edge information to help them stay one step ahead of the competition.
Former Gov. Mark Sanford (R-Appalachian Trail) has already announced he’ll be running for the seat. Regardless of who Colbert-Busch squares off against in the general election (assuming, of course, she snags the Democratic nomination), she’s expected to face an uphill battle given the congressional district skews heavily Republican. That said, her family connection clearly gives her an unusual advantage, and makes the race mighty hard to predict at this point.
BuzzFeed, which also confirmed the news about her plans, offers this helpful note about how she pronounces her last name: “phonetically, unlike her brother, who pronounces the surname with a silent ‘T’.”