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S.C. Dems Nix Stephen Colbert Ballot Bid

CBS News has confirmed with a member of the South Carolina Democratic Party that Stephen Colbert has been rejected from the party's presidential primary ballot, with a vote of 3 in favor and 13 against his inclusion.

Members of the state party's executive council based their votes on certification guidelines, which include being generally acknowledged as a viable candidate for that office and actively campaigning for the primary.

Colbert did appear Sunday at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, telling several hundred fans he would, if elected, "crush the state of Georgia." He also received a key to the capital city and the mayor declared him South Carolina's "favorite son."

Colbert, who poses as a conservative talk-show host on the Comedy Central cable network, filed to get on the ballot as a Democratic candidate in his native South Carolina. His campaign paid a $2,500 filing fee just before the noon deadline, said state Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler.

However, after about 40 minutes of discussion by top party officials, the executive council voted to keep the host of "The Colbert Report" off the ballot.

"He's really trying to use South Carolina Democrats as suckers so he can further a comedy routine," said Waring Howe, a member of the executive council. And Colbert "serves to detract from the serious candidates on the ballot."

But state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter told the committee Colbert could showcase the state "in a way that none of the other candidates on the ballot have been able to do."

"I think you're taking this a little too seriously," she said.

When Colbert announced his candidacy on his show last month, he said he would run only in this key primary state. He said then he planned to run as a Democrat and a Republican - so he could lose twice.

The GOP filing fee is $35,000; the deadline was Thursday night.

Democrats say he will get his $2,500 back.

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