Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


We Are Family? Colbert Busch vs Sanford Campaign Website Biographies

Bookmark and Share

Elizabeth Colbert Busch discusses her family in 34 percent of her campaign website bio compared to just 8 percent for Mark Sanford; Sanford devotes 81 percent to career accomplishments

marksanford10.jpgReading the campaign website biographies of the two major party candidates in Tuesday's South Carolina 1st Congressional District special election reveals not only individuals with different personal and professional backgrounds, but also stark differences in what they choose to emphasize about their lives.

Both candidates are divorced, but only one shies away from discussing family.

Mark Sanford, of course, has been famously dogged by his high-profile affair while governor with a woman (Maria Chapur) who is now his fiancée, as well as recent charges of trespassing at his ex-wife's house.

Not surprisingly, Sanford overwhelming highlights his professional career and downplays his family life in the 527-word biography on his Congressional campaign web site.

Overall, 81.8 percent of Sanford's bio discusses his past experiences and accomplishments as Governor of the Palmetto State, as a former U.S. Representative from the 1st CD, and through his post-officeholder career as a political commentator and board member.

Sanford focuses in particular on his eight years as governor, highlighting the work he did on cutting taxes, stopping wasteful spending, and refusing to accept stimulus spending from the federal government.

By contrast, just 46 words, or 8.7 percent of the biography, addresses Sanford's personal or family life, including one sentence near the beginning:

Mark first learned the themes of hard work and frugality growing up with two brothers and a sister on their family farm near Beaufort, SC.

And two short sentences at the very end:

Mark has four sons, Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake, and is engaged to Maria Belen Chapur. He currently lives in Charleston.

Sanford devotes another 4.7 percent of his web site bio each to his educational background and to his general policy goals in Congress (tackling "runaway government spending").

Meanwhile, more than one-third of Elizabeth Colbert Busch's campaign website bio discusses her family life and background (282 of 819 words, 34.4 percent).

That is four times the rate of Sanford and more than six times the total number of words Sanford used to discuss his family life.

Colbert Busch leads with the family in four of the first six paragraphs of her biography discussing her life growing up, the tragedy she experienced as a young adult when three members of her family were killed in a plane crash, and life as a single, divorced mother of three.

Even when discussing her career accomplishments, the Democratic nominee gives a shout out to her folks:

Inspired by her parents' commitment to education, Elizabeth proudly serves as an advisor to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Coalition..

She ends her bio mentioning the "love of her life," husband Claus Busch, plus her children and grandchildren.

Colbert Busch still uses the plurality of her biography to discuss her professional career in the maritime and energy industries (386 words, 47.1 percent) including a list of some of the accolades she has received and the boards on which she sits.

A total of 5.6 percent of Colbert Busch's bio discusses her education with another 12.8 percent on her general outlook on Congress and goals moving forward.

Two candidates. Two different narratives.

Which one will prevail on Tuesday?

Subject Matter of Colbert Bush and Sanford Campaign Website Biographies by Percent

Subject
Colbert Busch
Sanford
Professional career
47.1
81.8
Family
34.4
8.7
Goals / issues
12.8
4.7
Education background
5.6
4.7
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: States with the Longest US House Special Election Droughts
Next post: Democrats Hit the Wall Again in South Carolina Special Election

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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