CHARLESTON, S.C. — No joke.
While comedian Stephen Colbert once spoofed that he was running for the president of the United States of South Carolina, his sister really is earnestly seeking a vacant congressional seat in the state.
Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch plans to file next week to enter the race for the 1st District, her campaign manager Bill Romjue said Friday.
She'll join an already notable list of candidates.
Former Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, whose political career was derailed after he admitted an affair with an Argentine woman in 2009, announced his return to politics this week by entering the race. And Teddy Turner, the son of media magnate Ted Turner, is also running as a Republican.
Filing for the seat opened Friday and runs through Jan. 28.
Turner and Sanford are among at least 10 Republicans running in the Republican-leaning district.
The 1st District seat was left vacant when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Tim Scott as the state's newest U.S. senator.
Colbert-Busch is a Charleston native like her brother and is development director at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in nearby North Charleston. She did not return messages from The Associated Press on Friday, but Romjue said the district, redrawn in 2011, is now more favorable to Democrats.
More conservative and rural areas along the state's north coast were replaced with the resort areas around Hilton Head and thousands of northern transplants.
"It comes out better on the Democratic-Republicans numbers and it's just a different electorate," said Romjue, who in 2008 was campaign manager for Linda Ketner, a Democrat who got 48 percent of the vote against then-incumbent U.S. Rep. Henry Brown.
A profile of Colbert-Busch three years ago in The Post and Courier described some of the tough times she has had in her life. She lost her father and two brothers in a plane crash when she was 19 and also was sitting in a building across from the World Trade Center when hijacked jets smashed into the Twin Towers in 2001.
At least one other Democrat is in race. Charleston businessman Martin Skelly announced his candidacy on Friday.
Three sitting state lawmakers are among the other Republicans running. State Reps. Chip Limehouse and Andy Patrick are running, as is state Sen. Larry Grooms. Former state Sen. John Kuhn has also announced his candidacy as have Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly and former member Larry Kobrovsky.
Former Charleston County councilman Curtis Bostic and Ray Nash, the former sheriff of Dorchester County, are also running.