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South Carolina: Skelly Exits Special Election; Colbert’s Sister Now Top Democratic Contender

Wealthy businessman Martin Skelly on Monday dropped out of the special election for South Carolina’s 1st District and endorsed fellow Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.

“Elizabeth Colbert Busch has demonstrated that she is an outstanding candidate,” Skelly said in a statement released by the Busch campaign. “She inspires both the party faithful and the political center that we need to generate consensus and end gridlock in Congress.”

Busch is now the odds on favorite to win the Democratic nod, although she remains a decided underdog in the special election. Still, she is expected to raise serious money for the race. Her brother is hosting fundraisers in New York City and Charleston, S.C., next week on behalf of her campaign.

Frequent candidate Ben Frasier, now the only other person in the Democratic primary, declined to comment when reached by telephone — even before a CQ Roll Call reporter had a chance to ask him a question.

“After tomorrow, I will be available for any questions you so desire,” he said.

The conservative district that takes in almost all of the South Carolina coast became open when Republican Tim Scott was appointed to the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint. There are 16 Republican contenders vying for the GOP nomination in the March 19 primary. If no candidate tops 50 percent — a likely outcome — a runoff will be held on April 2.

CQ Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

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