Weeks after being removed from the ballot due to a filing error, a little-known political candidate in the Lowcountry has won office thanks in part to a last-minute publicity bump from Comedy Central.
Scott Ready was elected to the Hardeeville City Council last week, according to the Island Packet’s Tom Barton, garnering nearly three times as many votes as council incumbent Roy Powell.
Ready was kicked off the ballot back in March for incorrectly checking the box on his filing application marked “elected official.” Comedy Central subsequently poked fun at Ready’s mistake by naming him a “one of a kind candidate” on its election blog, Indecision Forever:
Comedy Central said it would help Ready get his name out to voters [for a write-in campaign], by offering editorial copy for his first media blitz. Even a little guy in rural Hardeeville needs help. Or as the network put it: “Democracy: It’s not just for famous people.”
However, Ready was able to persuade a judge at the last minute to overrule the Hardeeville Municipal Election Commission.
It’s unclear whether the election commission’s decision to disqualify Ready had anything to do with the fact that its chairwoman is the mother-in-law of Ready’s opponent. But judging by the election results, it’s clear that many voters had their suspicions.
Comedy Central is well known for the “Colbert Bump,” in which little-known candidates gain huge publicity and support by appearing on South Carolina native Stephen Colbert’s satirical program. In fact, actual scholarly papers have been written on the phenomenon in an effort to quantify the Colbert Bump.
However, Ready’s election is the first indication that the Colbert Bump may not even require Stephen Colbert to be effective. While the councilman-elect thanked Comedy Central for its “support,” he seemed doubtful that the network deserved sole credit for his victory.
“It definitely brought out additional publicity that otherwise I wouldn’t have received,” Ready told the Island Packet. “It added some nice comedy and levity to the process. But more importantly, it brought to light questionable practices that have been going on in Hardeeville. (Voters) saw someone who was going to stand up against and correct that.”
Either way, let’s just hope Councilman-elect Ready brushes up on his box-checking abilities before he takes office.