When Teddy Turner appears on a ballot in South Carolina this March listed as a Republican, it won’t be a misprint. Teddy Turner, son of CNN founder and staunch Democrat Ted Turner, is a Republican candidate in the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tim Scott.
While his famous father is known for his liberal views, Teddy Turner departs from his dad when it comes to politics.
So how did the son of a famous and influential Democrat come to hold conservative views?
According to Teddy Turner’s campaign website, CNN indirectly helped shape his worldview. Turner worked as a cameraman in the 1980s for the then-fledgling cable network, covering the Soviet Union.
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“Following a near-fatal car accident, as a patient in a Soviet hospital, Teddy learned firsthand just how costly socialized medicine programs can be for patients and doctors alike,” Turner’s bio reads.
During an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Turner said his father always asks how he developed an opposing political philosophy.
“I tell you, four years at the military college of the Citadel and two years in the Soviet Union -- if that doesn’t make you a conservative, nothing will,” the South Carolina congressional candidate said.
While his father is recognized as one of the most prominent Democrats in the business world, Teddy said his dad didn’t always hold those views.
“He met my mother at a Young Republicans convention,” the Charleston high school economics teacher said. “He was a small business guy -- before he became a big business guy -- but he was very conservative. This change in life ... mainly started in environmentalism.”
Turner also attributed his dad’s political evolution to his then-stepmother, actress Jane Fonda.
“He started becoming more and more environmentalist, and then Jane helped move things over as well," Turner told Steve Malzberg on his eponymous show on Newsmax TV. “Then when you start hanging around and everybody you’re hanging around with is liberal, then you tend to move more liberal.’’
Turner is among a crowded field of 16 Republican candidates in the special election for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District that includes former Palmetto State Gov. Mark Sanford.
Scott's seat is up for grabs since he was picked by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to serve out the remainder of former Senator Jim Demint's term following his retirement.
Sanford is trying to revive his political career after the revelation of an extramarital affair (he went “missing” for days in June 2009, and his staff initially said he disappeared hiking the Appalachian Trail, but it was later revealed that he went to see his mistress in Argentina), and he is considered the front-runner in the Republican primary. Although his wife, Jenny Sanford, divorced him, Sanford finished out his term as governor.
The Democratic side of the special election race has also gained national attention. Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of “The Colbert Report” host Stephen Colbert, is one of three Democratic candidates vying for the congressional seat.
Party primaries are scheduled for March 19, with the general election slated for May 7.