Second chance for Sanford

Mark Sanford
Mark Sanford

CHARLESTON — Former Republican Governor Mark Sanford made a stunning political comeback yesterday, rebounding from a sex scandal to beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a personality-driven election for a seat in the US House of Representatives that put a national spotlight on South Carolina.

Sanford regained the First Congressional District seat he held from 1995 to 2001 before serving two terms as governor, the second of which was marred when he tried to hide an affair by falsely saying that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

He earned 54 per cent of the vote to 45 per cent for Colbert Busch, a businesswoman and first-time candidate whose brother is television satirist Stephen Colbert.

“I just want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances, but third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances,” Sanford told cheering supporters in Mount Pleasant.

“I am one imperfect man saved by God’s grace, but one who has a conviction on the importance of doing something about the spending in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

The election, which garnered broad attention thanks to the colourful candidates, was held to fill the seat vacated by Republican Tim Scott when he was appointed to the US Senate by Governor Nikki Haley in December.

Sanford, 52, had trailed Colbert Busch, 58, by nine points two weeks ago in a poll taken soon after revelations that his ex-wife had accused him of trespassing at her home. He said he went there to watch the football Super Bowl with one of their four sons, but the allegations prompted the National Republican Congressional Committee to drop its financial support of Sanford’s campaign. (Reuters)

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