I tried to wait to write this until the election returns for South Carolina's special House election were in, but it looks like it's going to take awhile. Currently, only four percent of precincts are in, and the numbers have been bouncing wildly around, so it's too soon to tell what's going to happen in the race between Mark Sanford (R -- Appalachian Trail) and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister to Stephen Colbert.
But I have to say, my expectations for this House seat are pretty low. Even should Busch pull out the victory, the chances of her retaining her seat in 2014 are not all that great. This is a district which voted for Mitt Romney to the tune of 6-in-10 in the 2012 election, after all.
In fact, the only real reason Busch is competitive in this special election is that Sanford is such a flawed candidate. From his hijinks with his mistress to the court hearing he'll have in two days over trespassing at his ex-wife's house, Sanford is such political poison that the Republican Party pulled their money out of the race already.
Now, as I said, I'll be watching the returns for the next few hours along with everyone else, but a victory here for Busch, while enjoyable, is not going to change the balance of power in the House or anything. And if, as I expect, she loses her seat to "Any Republican Not Named Mark Sanford" in 2014, then it'll be as if she hadn't won tonight for the next House's balance of power.
The Fix blog over at the Washington Post pointed this out a while ago, and their reasoning is still pretty sound. Think about it: even though Mark Sanford is so incredibly flawed, he is still running a competitive race against Busch. Any Republican candidate without his flaws will likely run a lot better next year.
So while it is fun to stay up and watch election returns come in, and while I certainly would enjoy seeing Stephen Colbert's sister in Congress, I have to issue a note of warning for Democrats: even if she does win, enjoy it while it lasts because it probably won't last that long.
-- Chris Weigant
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant