Could comedian Stephen Colbert become Sen. Colbert?
It’s not likely, but shortly after South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s surprise announcement Thursday that he will be leaving his seat to take the helm at the Heritage Foundation, a “Colbert for Senate” Twitter account and website popped up.
“Reporting for duty, South Carolina!” @ColbertforSC’s opening tweet read.
The account links to a Colbert for Senate website which allows fans to pledge their support for Colbert and send tweets to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley encouraging her to appoint him to the vacancy.
The website also links to the twitter account of Matt Ortega, the digital director at a Democratic-aligned Washington, D.C. communications firm and a former DNC staffer. Ortega claimed credit for the site on Twitter.
“Stephen is honored by the groundswell of support from the Palmetto State and looks forward to Gov. Haley’s call,” Carrie Byalick, a Colbert spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail to USA Today.
Colbert, who grew up in South Carolina, addressed the situation on his Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report” Thursday night.
“I’m not going to sit here and say I should be South Carolina’s next senator, not when so many other people are saying it for me,” The Huffington Post reported he said.
By Thursday night Colbert was echoing the “groundswell”-inspired twitter account and website, encouraging people on his own Twitter account to press Haley for his appointment.
“Nation! Tell @nikkihaley why I should take over for Jim DeMint!#SenatorColbert Could our Better Tomorrow be… Tomorrow?” Colbert tweeted, and followed it up with “Tweet @nikkihaley & tell her why I belong in the US Senate. For one, I wouldn’t just block legislation, I’d body-check it! #SenatorColbert”
DeMint’s vacancy has left the political world speculating about who Haley will appoint to fill the seat until a special election in 2014. Rep. Tim Scott is the current favorite; but Colbert, who has “run” for president twice and started his own Super PAC — in part to poke fun at election laws — could make a satirical stir in his play for the position.
And if the stars aligned for Colbert somehow, he wouldn’t be the first professional funny-man to become a U.S. Senator: Al Franken accomplished that in 2008 when he won a statewide election in Minnesota by 312 votes. Franken’s critics later pointed out that more than 1,000 felons voted in that tight election, and at least 177 were convicted of voter fraud.