Stephen Colbert sought to buy naming rights for Jan. 21 primary in South Carolina

The StateDecember 7, 2011 

Political satirist and comedian Stephen Colbert met with S.C. Republican Party officials and sought to buy the naming rights for the state’s Jan. 21 GOP presidential primary.

The state GOP, trying to raise money to pay for the primary, eventually declined to name the primary “The Colbert Nation Super PAC Presidential Primary.”

But the GOP did agree to place a question on its Jan. 21 primary ballot after Colbert, a South Carolina native, in return pledged a “significant contribution” from his super PAC to the S.C. Republican Party. (A GOP spokesman declined to say how big that pledge was.)

Colbert hosts Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and has lampooned super PACs – political action committees – by forming one of his own.

Officials with the S.C. Republican Party met with Colbert a few times and reached an agreement to place a question about “corporate personhood” on the primary ballot. But they said no to the naming rights and debate co-sponsorship offers.

“They were considered, but they were declined,” said Matt Moore, executive director of the S.C. Republican Party, which is charged with putting on the state’s first-in-the-South presidential primary.

Colbert also wanted to co-sponsor a January presidential debate in Myrtle Beach. However, Fox News has exclusive rights to the Myrtle Beach debate so no co-sponsors are allowed.

Selling the naming rights for the primary – like college football bowl games have done – was not a good fit either, Moore said. “We were concerned about the sanctity of the primary election and hurting our primary candidates.”

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