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SC-1: The Vote Cost



Lots of cash was spent during the “Republican” primary for the South Carolina first congressional district last week … but who got the most value for their political investment?

Obviously former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford and former Charleston County councilman Curtis Bostic walked away from the primary with sufficient votes to advance to Round 2 (a.k.a. the GOP runoff on April 2), but how well were the candidates able to translate their resources into votes?

Courtesy of the Republican Liberty Caucus of South Carolina, here’s the breakdown …

Candidate Money Spent Votes Money Per Vote
Ray Nash $14,119 2504 $5.64
Andy Patrick $27,239 3,776 $7.21
Mark Sanford* $261,813 19,812 $13.21
Larry Grooms $115,322 6656 $17.33
Peter McCoy $17,865 865 $20.65
Jeff King $4,538 211 $21.51
Curtis Bostic* $185,935 7149 $26.01
Tim Larkin $12,024 390 $30.83
E. Moffly $22,153 529 $41.88
Ric Bryant $5,396 86 $62.74
S. Pinkston $12,297 154 $79.85
J. Hoffman $28,951 358 $80.87
Teddy Turner $354,454 4,235 $83.70
John Kuhn $418,807 3471 $120.66
Chip Limehouse $497,457 3269 $152.17

*Advanced to runoff

In last year’s presidential race, U.S. President Barack Obama (and independent expenditure groups supporting his bid) spent $16.73 per vote compared to $20.09 for “Republican” nominee Mitt Romney (and independent expenditure groups supporting his candidacy. By contrast Libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson’s votes “cost” less than $2.00 apiece.

Obviously, “cost per vote” is a fairly meaningless statistic … although it can show the extent to which a candidate is able to muster support independent of costly television ads (or the extent to which a candidate’s massive expenditures fail to create a connection with voters).

By any measure, the biggest loser in this race was S.C. Rep. Chip Limehouse (RINO-Charleston) – who spent more than any other candidate yet came in a disappointing seventh place.