On the first day that filing was open for the 1st District special election, two viable Democratic candidates surprised observers by filing for the race against a slew of Republican candidates gunning for their party’s nomination and a chance to represent the diverse coastal district in Congress.

Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (that’s with a hard-T), marketing and sales director for Clemson’s local Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert (that’s with a soft-T), will file to run for the race, Democratic officials told Patch today. Millionaire businessman Martin Skelly also made news today by filing his paperwork with the state Democratic Party and infusing his campaign with a personal loan of $250,000, an instant jumpstart in a race where donations will be spread among a dozen or more candidates. Democrats Bobbie Rose and Robert Burton, who have both made unsuccessful runs for the seat before, are also said to be considering the race.

Filing for the race closes on January 28, and the candidates from each party will square off in a primary set for March 19. The likely runoff will be held on April 2, with the general election on May 7.