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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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