Politics a Funny Game
Politics can be a funny game indeed.
In one of the more stunning political comebacks in memory, Republican former Governor Mark Sanford won a South Carolina congressional seat Tuesday, coming all the way back from a nasty sex scandal and ugly divorce.
Sanford beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a personality-driven election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that put a national spotlight on South Carolina.
Sanford had held the seat in the First Congressional District from 1995 to 2001 before serving two terms as governor. It was during his fateful second-term that brought the infamous affair with a South American woman.
Sanford’s Secret Trips
On one of Sanford’s secret trips to meet her in Argentina, he explained his absence as simply walking the Appalachian Trail and being out of contact with the outside world.
Sanford’s victory was a significant win with 54 percent of the vote to 45 percent for Colbert Busch, a businesswoman and first-time candidate whose brother is television satirist Stephen Colbert.
The former governor had the upper hand in a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat in decades.
Shortly after his victory was sealed, Sanford told supporters outside of Mount Pleasant, SC, “I’ve talked a lot about grace over the course of this campaign. I get it in a way that I never have before. I just want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances, but third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances.”
Seat Vacated By Republican Senator Tim Scott
The election was held to fill the seat vacated by now Republican Senator Tim Scott when he was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor Nikki Haley in December.
As late as two weeks ago, Colbert held a nine point lead over Sanford. The poll was taken just after news that his ex-wife had asked for a restraining order against him for supposedly trespassing in her home.
Sanford said at the time he was merely there to watch the Super Bowl with his four sons.
The former governor had been the butt of many jokes the past four years. He was accused him of deserting the state in 2009 when then-married Sanford attempted to disguise a six-day disappearance from the public eye for a “hike on the Appalachian Trail.”
Soon after his lame explanation, the truth of his journey to Argentina and the mistress was uncovered.
$70,000 in Fines for Ethics Violations
Sanford ended up paying more than $70,000 in fines for ethics violations that included using public money for personal travel to Argentina. He was then divorced, became engaged to his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur, who attended his victory party last night.
A defeated Colbert Busch was quoted as saying after her defeat, “Wow, we gave it a heck of a fight, didn’t we?
Colbert Busch had garnered endorsements from The Post and Courier over the weekend. The Charleston newspaper labeled her “a welcome tonic” for any South Carolinian suffering from “Sanford Fatigue.”
Can Sanford Be Effective?
Because of his past indiscretions, support from the state GOP was lacking, but he oddly picked up the endorsement of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party favorite who is well-known in Sanford’s district.
Whether Sanford can now be effective for his district in the House remains to be seen.