Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Colbert Busch: Making History in South Carolina?

Bookmark and Share

Colbert Busch could become the sixth woman elected to Congress from South Carolina - but the first without political ties by marriage or birth

elizabethcolbertbusch10.jpgIf Elizabeth Colbert Busch defeats Mark Sanford in South Carolina's 1st CD special election next Tuesday, she will become the sixth woman in history to win a U.S. House seat from the Palmetto State - and the first in more than two decades.

These previous five South Carolinians won a total of seven House elections in the state across more than 300 such contests that have been conducted since the first woman was elected to the House in 1916 (Jeannette Rankin of Montana).

But although a Colbert Busch victory would be similar to many of her predecessors in that four of them also won special elections, her win would be particularly notable because it would make her the first woman from South Carolina to win a seat in Congress without any political ties by marriage or birth.

Each of the first four South Carolina women to win U.S. House seats did so in special elections to fill the vacancies created by the deaths of their husbands.

None served more than 14 months and none was a candidate for the full term at the time of the next general election.

Elizabeth Hawley Gasque was elected in a September 1938 special election to the 6th Congressional District after the death of her husband, eight-term Democratic Representative Allard Gasque.

Hawley Gasque served approximately three and one-half months until the end of the term on January 3, 1939.

In November 1939, Clara McMillan was elected in a 1st CD special election to fill the vacancy after the death of her husband, Democrat Thomas McMillan, who was in his eighth term at the time of his passing. Clara McMillian served nearly 14 months until the end of the term in January 1941.

Willa Fulmer served less than two months in Congress (November 7, 1944 to January 3, 1945) after a special election victory in the state's 2nd CD to finish the term opened up after the death of her husband earlier that year.

Democrat Hampton Fulmer had served 12 terms in the House.

In April 1962, Corinne Boyd Riley won a special election in the 2nd CD to fill the vacancy after the death of her husband, eight-term Democrat John Riley.

Boyd Riley served until the end of the term on January 3, 1963.

The fifth and most recent woman to be elected to the U.S. House from South Carolina was Democrat Liz Patterson.

Patterson won the state's open 4th CD race in 1986 previously held by Republican Carroll Campbell.

Patterson narrowly won by 4.1 points over Bill Workman and carried the district two more times in 1988 and 1990 before losing by 2.9 points to Bob Inglis after redistricting in 1992.

Patterson, unlike Hawley Gasque, McMillan, Fulmer, and Boyd Riley, was not married to a U.S. Representative, although her father was Olin Johnston.

Johnston was governor of South Carolina from 1935-1939 and was elected four times to the U.S. Senate in 1944, 1950, 1956, and 1962 before dying in office in 1965.

South Carolina currently ranks tied for #37 in the country with an average of 2.3 percent of its U.S. House seats held by women since 1916.

The state made history in 2010 when it elected Republican Nikki Haley as its first female governor.

Women Elected to Congress from South Carolina

Elected
Congresswoman
Party
Days served
1938 (s)
Elizabeth Hawley Gasque
Democrat
113
1939 (s)
Clara McMillan
Democrat
424
1944 (s)
Willa Fulmer
Democrat
58
1962 (s)
Corinne Boyd Riley
Democrat
269
1986, 1988, 1990
Liz Patterson
Democrat
2,193
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: From Helena to D.C.? Schweitzer Would Make History in Montana
Next post: Seasoned Senators in Wisconsin

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting