For Elizabeth Colbert Busch to win a special election in South Carolina's conservative first district on Tuesday, she'll need to convince enough voters that she won't be a rubberstamp for Democratic policies. She's promised to be an independent voice in the House, and has said she's laser-focused on fiscal issues.
She has also refused to commit to a vast array of policies in the House, and has remained vague on her working relationship with Democratic leadership. This was on display Sunday, when she appeared with assistant leader Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third ranking Democrat in the lower chamber.
When a reporter asked her if she would vote to repeal Obamacare — and Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said the House will move to have another repeal vote soon — Colbert Busch said the law was "problematic" and "expensive," a line she used during the debate.
Asked again how she would take a simple up or down vote on repeal, a frustrated Colbert Busch replied: "I'd have to see the bill. Let's get elected May the 7th and we'll go from there."
Her opponent, former Governor Mark Sanford, has worked to tie Colbert Busch to party leadership and national Democrats. As Colbert Busch appeared with Clyburn, Sanford blasted out a statement that summed up his talking points on the trail here.
"It's fascinating that my opponent on one hand claims to be an independent voice, yet on the other hand would campaign with one of the most fiscally liberal and partisan members of the current Congress," Sanford said.
Reporters did question Colbert Busch on how her policies differed from Clyburn's or Democratic leadership. She instead pointed to the budget President Barack Obama introduced as something she disagreed with.
"You heard Congressman Clyburn himself say, sometimes you agree and sometimes you don't," she said. "Let's wait till the 7th, lets get elected and we'll sit down and we'll all talk to each other. We'll collaborate with each other, we'll work with each other."
Kate Nocera is the DC Bureau Chief for BuzzFeed’s Washington, DC bureau. Nocera is a recipient of the National Press Foundation's 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting on Congress.
Contact Kate Nocera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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