Eugene Platt, who ran with the Green Party US for South Carolina’s 1st congressional district special election, has many of the traits of a comforting conservative: a man of faith and family emblazoned with the colours of his party, with not as much political experience as his opponents but enough to sound reliable. In terms of a typical conservative image, an extramarital affair is the only thing that the victor, Mark Sandford, has over him. Platt even, in a TV interview, claimed that he and many other greens are fiscal conservatives, explaining, “I don’t believe we should spend more money than we have.” This is more of a rhetorical statement: his long-held support for free healthcare for all, state-funded education, clamping down on tax evasion, and a green economy suggests he can’t really be a conservative.
Sandford (R) was always more likely to win, and the safe percentage of 54.04% is unsurprising. Business expert and sister to the noisy, predictable satirist Stephen Colbert, Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D), gained 45.21% of the vote. This left Platt with a tiny 690 votes, just 0.48% of the very poor 31.55% voter turnout.
A result of under 1% is very disappointing, especially when considering polling at 3% and 4% in April and May respectively, and considering his media attention from ABC, Charleston City Paper, and elsewhere. The fact that there are local chapters in Aiken County, York County, Charleston, Midlands, and Greenville suggests there are many members of the party who voted otherwise. There are a couple of pretty simple explanations, though.