Skelly promised to put $250,000 of his own money into the race, enough to give him a big boost towards being financially competitive.

The seat is fairly Republican — Mitt Romney carried it by 18 points in the 2012 presidential election — and national Democrats haven't mentioned it as a likely target. But special elections are often quirky, and controversial former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) is the current GOP-frontrunner in a crowded Republican primary field, leading to more uncertainty about the seat.