Well, if you are a resident of South Carolina, you were this close to getting to do it.
It’s been no secret that South Carolina has been trying to find enough money to hold their presidential primary next month. After candidate contributions and filing fees, they are still coming up about $500,000 short. So, political comedian and faux conservative personality Stephen Colbert has offered to cover the gap — for naming rights. “This month the State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., reported that Colbert offered to help cover the costs of the Jan. 21 presidential primary, the first in the South, if the state GOP would change its name to ‘The Colbert Nation Super PAC Presidential Primary,’ just as Frito-Lay has paid to affix ‘Tostitos’ to ‘Fiesta Bowl.’”
Allegedly, the deal was considered but passed upon, but Colbert also wanted a ballot referendum letting people decide if “corporations are people.” The GOP agreed to that term, but the state supreme court chose to strip referendums from the ballot.
Now, Colbert wants them to reconsider. “[L]ast week I saw that the South Carolina GOP has reneged on funding any part of the primary, save for the legal minimum percentage of candidate filing fees, leaving the financially strapped counties on the hook for $500,000. That’s money that counties need for emergency services, infrastructure repair, and to complete the wall to keep out North Carolinians. Once again, our first-in-the-South primary is in jeopardy.Which brings us to South Carolina’s other motto: ‘Dum spiro spero’ — ‘While I breathe, I hope.’ Well, South Carolina counties, you can stop breathing now — your hopes have been answered.Colbert Super PAC will cover the counties’ $500,000 shortfall. In return, I ask for only two things: that you support the Democrats’ petition to get my referendum back on the ballot, and that you grant me the pre-negotiated naming rights, which, I think we can all agree, you now own. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, ‘You paid for that microphone!’”
The South Carolina GOP, however, says this has all just been a stunt from the beginning. “‘Stephen Colbert, the private citizen, called out of the clear blue and made an unsolicited offer to help his home state. We were intrigued and met with him, but also wary,’ [executive director Matt] Moore said in an email statement. ‘We determined it was not in the state party’s best interests to accept Mr. Colbert’s offers. Everything was not “agreed to.” We did not sign his proposed contract. Despite our repeatedly saying “no,” Stephen Colbert, the comedian, seems intent on being involved. It’s exactly why we were wary in the first place. The state party will not be involved with Stephen Colbert going forward.”
But are they really backing out because of the stunt, or because it was something they were never really legally able to do anyway? “In fact, some members of the South Carolina Election Commission say may not even be legal for the GOP to accept the money. A Commission spokesman told the Associated Press that they would need to first consult South Carolina’s Attorney General, Alan Wilson.”
Either way, it looks like it’s the taxpayers of South Carolina who will be footing that left over half a million dollars.
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