Mark Sanford is going back to Congress.
The quirky former governor of South Carolina making a political comeback has won the special election for state’s 1st Congressional District.
Sanford, a Republican, easily defeated Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the Democrat who is Stephen Colbert’s sister. He currently has 57 percent of the vote with about 75 percent of the precincts counted. “Sanford, waging a bid for political redemption three years after his fall from grace, went into Election Day with a head of steam. Polls showed the former governor closing on and then eclipsing Colbert Busch …”
Before becoming governor, Sanford served three terms in the US House of Representatives, representing the same district (although its boundaries have since been somewhat redrawn).
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.
Normally in this solid Republican district, a Democrat would have no chance, but Sanford’s personal baggage made it up for grabs. In June 2009, he disappeared for about 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 rather than hiking in the Appalachian Trail as he initially claimed. Despite the scandal, Sanford managed to finish out his term of office.
Late in this special election campaign, news surfaced that he had been charged with trespassing at his ex-wife’s home on Super Bowl Sunday 2013, which caused the skittish national GOP to pull any funding for Sanford’s bid.
According to reports, Sanford was substantially outspent by Colbert Bush, who for a time was significantly ahead in the polling.
Apparently the voters decided that a personally flawed fiscal conservative was a better choice than a so-called moderate Democrat who when push came to shove would generally go along with the Obama agenda. “Try as hard she might, Colbert Busch was unable to convince voters that she wouldn’t support Democratic leadership, or what policies she might vote against … Over and over again in the district, the message from voters was the same: Sanford’s not great, but he’s a Republican.”
Worth pointing out: Colbert Busch ran a laconic campaign. Few appearances, little access. Sanford ran hard, like an underdog. #sc01
— Karen Tumulty(@ktumulty) May 8, 2013
Are you surprised that Mark Sanford won the special election in South Carolina?