South Carolina Democrats rejected satirist Stephen Colbert’s bid for a spot on the ballot in his home state’s early presidential primary. Colbert paid the $2,500 filing fee, but the party’s executive council voted 13 to 3 on Thursday to keep Colbert out of the race on the grounds that he was not mounting a national campaign. “The general sense of the council was that he wasn’t a serious candidate,” said Joe Werner, the party’s director.
What the commentators said
“It’s official,” said Matt Welch in the Los Angeles Times’ Opinion L.A. blog. “The Democratic Party has no sense of humor.” Party leaders said they turned down Colbert because he wasn’t “viable” and “actively campaigning,” yet they approved former senator Mike Gravel who is neither. The real problem here was that the “army of grumpusses on the left” wanted to protect their “own narrow, joyless interests” by refusing to let themselves be “mocked.”
“This is terrible news,” said Verne Gray in Newsday’s The TV Zone blog. But Colbert doesn’t have to give up. He can “circumvent the argument that he’s not serious” by applying to get on the ballot in several states. Running for president should become his priority—with writers going on strike, he won’t have anything else to do “when ‘The Colbert Report’ goes dark.”
“Colbert shouldn't take the South Carolina snub personally,” said Joal Ryan in E! Online. “He wasn't the only candidate denied Thursday by the Democrats.” They also denied New York–based low-cost-housing developer Henry Hewes. "I'd never heard of him 'til today," Werner said. Colbert won’t be on the Republican ballot either—he didn’t want to pay the $35,000 GOP filing fee. Looks like Colbert is “going to need a new party.”