We got a media release from the Tumpy Campbell congressional campaign which felt the need to diss State Rep. Tim Scott, a potential entrant, and proclaim their "lead" in the still-developing race for the First District Congressional seat. The ad trumpted:
Carroll Campbell is in first place. With three former State Republican Party Chairmen's recent endorsements and some of South Carolina’s most respected and active donors and leaders' involvement on his Finance Committee, Campbell's momentum is still building.
It's worth noting that in the last two open races for the First District, those who led in polling or in cash raised at this stage in the race did not go on to Washington:
In 1994, Bob Harrell led in fundraising and didn't make the run-off while Van Hipp led in the pre-primary polling, only to lose the GOP run-off to Mark Sanford, who finished a dozen points behind Hipp in the primary.
In 2000, Buck Limehouse held a tremendous lead in fundraising and in early polling, but finished a distant second in the GOP primary, and lost the run-off to Henry Brown.
Moral of the story is this: Being first in February doesn't necessarily mean you'll be the congressman from the First. It will be up to the Campbell campaign to prove the First District's front-runner curse is the exception and not the rule.