Colbert Rejected for South Carolina Ballot

Stephen Colbert’s quixotic quest for the presidency–in South Carolina–has been thwarted by the Democratic Party.

Stephen Colbert’s satirical run for the presidency has run into its first roadblock — his bid to be on the ballot in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary was rejected on Thursday.

The party’s executive council voted 13-3 to refuse Colbert’s application for a spot on the ballot.

“The general sense of the council was that he wasn’t a serious candidate and that was why he wasn’t selected to be on the ballot,” said Joe Werner, the party’s director. “There was discussion — I wouldn’t call it a heated debate — but there was discussion about it.”

Julian Sanchez suggests that this might be because he might win it:

Am I alone in suspecting that one serious consideration behind the decision to keep Stephen Colbert off the South Carolina Democratic primary ballot was that he might well win it? Or, at the very least, beat many of the “serious” candidates? After all, that’s the only way adding him to the ballot would help him “make a mockery” of the process, as SC Dems fear.

Frankly, I doubt that this was the case. There’s actually a set of criteria that the South Carolina Democratic party has for President, which are described in the article above as:

The Democrats had to decide whether they considered Colbert to be a bona fide Democrat who is nationally viable and has spent time campaigning in the state.

Given that Colbert has firmly announced that he is only running in South Carolina and that, to my knowledge, he has not done any campaigning, he simply didn’t meet the minimum criteria necessary to be on the Democratic ballot in South Carolina. That may not be the most subversive opinion in the world, but it is, alas, probably the correct one.

Update: Apparently, I was incorrect about Stephen Colbert not actively campaigning in South Carolina.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Entertainment, The Presidency, , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Michael says:

    A more likely reason is the fact that if Colbert were to win, he certainly wouldn’t stay in the race. This is funny, it makes his show funny, but he doesn’t want to actually try and win the Presidency. He’s a guaranteed drop-out, even if he’s winning all the primaries, so why bother?