Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – The race for the open U.S. House seat in South Carolina's special election Tuesday showcases two very different candidates with two very different campaign styles.
Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch is criss-crossing the district in a fully wrapped tour bus with her name plastered along the outside. It's a look that evokes a presidential campaign. She travels with an entourage that, this weekend, included Jon Bauman, better known as Bowzer from the rock group Sha Na Na. He goes with her to rallies and sings a few chords from "Blue Moon," ending with "Vote for Colbert Busch" in his booming low voice.
She's gotten cash and support from national Democrats but the bigger boost is from having a high-profile brother like Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."
She is very outgoing, shakes hands, hugs lots of babies and talks about the issues, all while her campaign staff are close at hand.
Contrast that with her opponent, former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, whose 2009 extramarital affair tarnished his reputation. He says he is running a very grass-roots campaign. Many of his campaign signs are hand-painted pressed wood signs that look like children may have spray-painted them. He usually travels with a single aide in a small Chevy SUV and stops by businesses and restaurants unannounced.
He often starts his greeting to voters with an apology, saying he's "sorry for being rude and interrupting" while people are eating or talking. But he always adds that he hopes they'll "consider him" when they vote on Tuesday. He rarely uses the word "vote."
Another difference: Sanford does not like to campaign on Sundays. Even this Sunday, two days before the election, his campaign is dark. There are no events scheduled and no campaigning.
Meanwhile, Colbert Busch has scheduled a news conference and then is knocking on doors in a Charleston neighborhood.
While Sanford was considered the favorite heading into the special election, recent Democratic-leaning polls have indicated the race is in a dead heat toward the finish line.
Sunday morning, the local paper, The Post and Courier, gave Colbert Busch its endorsement. It says she "offers a balanced alternative to her GOP opponent Mark Sanford. He held the 1st District seat for a self-limited three terms, then later served two gubernatorial terms marred by near-constant conflict with his fellow Republicans who ran the Legislature."
It even says the district has "Sanford fatigue," described as "a malady caused by overexposure to all of the cringe-worthy details of his 2009 disgrace as governor, his ongoing efforts for redemption via the political process, his resurgent personal problems, etc. "
On Saturday, Sanford won his own endorsement from the fiscally conservative group the Tea Party Express. Amy Kremer, the group's chairwoman, said she backs him because he doesn't just "claim to be a fiscal conservative but has actually acted as a fiscal conservative. And has a record as a governor and congressman of being fiscally responsible."
As for Sanford's checkered past, Kremer said, "That's between Gov. Sanford, God and his family. I'm gonna leave that to the man upstairs."
"All I'm concerned about is sending a congressman to Washington that's going to do something about this out of control spending."
She notes that "the Democrats forgave Bill Clinton, and these voters seem to have forgiven (Sanford) because he went through a rough primary. He's now the nominee, and we're here to stand with him."
Sanford said the topic of his past rarely comes up on the trail. "You'll hear people talking about issues and ideas that are important to their pocketbook their wallet, their ability to provide for their family and for themselves," he said. "It has not been representative of what I talk to folks about on a daily basis."