News & Politics

Stephen Colbert Is Actually Leading the Polls to Be Picked as South Carolina's Next US Senator

No joke!

When Stephen Colbert announced that he wanted to be South Carolina’s next Senator, he garnered a lot of laughs. But some media outlets, and even voters, are apparently taking him seriously.

Colbert made the announcement on his show December 6 after the news broke that ultra-conservative Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina was leaving his seat. That means that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, another Republican, will decide who gets to take DeMint’s seat next. Colbert wants it to be him.

Colbert’s insistence that he would make a good senator follows remarks made on his show in January indicating he was exploring a run for the presidency in South Carolina, where he is from.

On December 6, Colbert said: “Let's see, you want somebody young, somebody conservative, somebody from South Carolina, maybe someone who had a super PAC.” He then pointed to himself.

CBS News ended a report on Colbert by saying: “Haley has not indicated whether she favors Colbert -- or anyone else. She may not make her decision for another month or so. But if, by some small chance Colbert is not selected, he could still run for the seat outright when both of the South Carolina seats are up for grabs in 2014.”

South Carolina Governor Haley has weighed in on Colbert’s bid as well. On her Facebook page, she wrote: “Stephen, thank you for your interest in South Carolina's U.S. Senate seat and for the thousands of tweets you and your fans sent me. But you forget one thing, my friend. You didn't know our state drink. Big, big mistake.” Haley also posted a link to her April 3, 2012 appearance on the Colbert Report, where Colbert was stumped after Haley asked him what South Carolina’s state drink was. (The answer was milk.)

But even if Colbert doesn’t know the state drink, he has captured some of the hearts and minds of South Carolina voters. A poll released by Public Policy Polling shows that Colbert is voters’ top pick for the seat. Twenty percent of voters in South Carolina indicated they want Colbert as their next senator. Democrats and independents voiced support for Colbert in the largest numbers.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.