Mark Sanford Wins South Carolina Primary Runoff

Charleston, SC — Mark Sanford is apparently the new comeback kid.

Sanford, the “quirky” former governor of South Carolina, has won the Republican primary runoff in the state’s 1st Congressional District.

According to the latest projections, Sanford has 56 percent of the vote versus 44 percent for Curtis Bostic. Sanford previously won 37 percent (and defeated 15 other candidates) in the multi-candidate GOP primary on March 19. No one reach 50 percent, however, making necessary a runoff between the top two vote-getters.

In addition to far greater name recognition (which has advantages and disadvantages given all the baggage involved), Sanford’s campaign was far more well-funded then his runoff rival. “That cash advantage has allowed Sanford to blanket the airwaves with ads touting his fiscal responsibility, while Bostic has been forced to run a much leaner campaign.”

Sanford will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Stephen Colbert’s sister, in the May 7 special election. A Green Party candidate is also running.

The Charleston-area district is considered solid Republican — Mitt Romney won it by 18 points in November — except that Sanford could lose because of the 2009 scandal when he disappeared for about a week from the state (and his duties as governor). It turned out that he was having an extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman who is now his fiancee. Despite the controversy, Sanford managed to finish out his term in office, however. Before becoming a two-term governor, Sanford served three terms in the House of Representatives, representing the same district (although its boundaries have since been somewhat redrawn).

In a debate with Bostic last week, the former governor claimed the scandal gave him some new perspective. “Sanford admitted fault, and argued that the 2009 episode brought him humility that would serve him well on Capitol Hill.”

The seat in Congress became vacant when Rep. Tim Scott was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley to the US Senate to replace incumbent Jim DeMint who resigned and went to work for the Heritage Foundation think tank.

Do you anticipate that Sanford will win on May 7 or is he too flawed a candidate?

[Image credit:John Wollwerth /]