Mark Sanford

Sanford gets second chance: On political scrapheap 4 years ago, ex-governor wins 1st district seat

by Glenn Smith, Robert Behr & Schuyler Kropf, The Post and Courier  |  published on May 8, 2013

Former Gov. Mark Sanford completed the trail to political redemption Tuesday with a win over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to reclaim his old seat in Congress.

Sanford defeated Colbert Busch 54 percent to 45 percent, according to full unofficial results. Turnout was heavier than expected, with about 32 percent of the district’s 455,702 registered voters casting ballots.

Sanford, who has never lost an election, returns to the 1st District seat he held for three terms from 1995-2001. It’s a remarkable comeback for a man many pundits had written off after his highly publicized affair with an Argentine mistress made him the source of national ridicule in 2009.

Democrats jumped at the chance to pick up a traditionally safe GOP seat, putting up more than $1 million to back Colbert Busch, a businesswoman and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.

In the end, the Republican with the plywood signs and plain-talking style carried the day with voters, who were willing to overlook Sanford’s baggage as well as fresh allegations of trespassing from his ex-wife, Jenny.

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