(CNN) - The last time Mark Sanford held public office, his political career was thought to be over after he admitted to an extra-marital affair.
Now, the former South Carolina governor says he is looking for forgiveness as he mounts a bid for the congressional seat he held from 1995 to 2001.
Whether voters can forgive him, the Republican says, is a personal decision for each individual.
"There's an amazing reservoir of human grace out there, there's a reservoir of God's grace that each of us have to access ourselves as best we can," he said Thursday in a national exclusive interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
Some voters, Sanford said, told him they will consider his background before deciding their vote.
"Forgiveness really is in the hands of the other and I think its incumbent upon each of us to make that decision for ourselves," he said, and he cited his 52 years in the state and two decades in politics.
His political life was thought to have ended in 2009 when he admitted the affair after visiting his girlfriend in Argentina.
He and his former wife, Jenny Sanford, were almost to be pitted against one another on the GOP primary ballot in March after both indicated their interest. But on Monday, Jenny Sanford said she would not seek the nomination, leaving Mark Sanford to formally announce his bid on Wednesday.
The seat is up for a special election after Rep. Tim Scott resigned it upon his appointment to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Jim DeMint's resignation.
Sanford is pitching himself as a fiscal conservative who spoke out on the issues of debt, deficit, and federal spending years ago - issues which are now very much at the forefront.
"We're having a new fiscal crisis, it seems, every couple months," he said. "So what I want to do is take what I've learned and hopefully apply it to again a great conundrum that now exists in Washignton, which is how do we get our financial house in order."
– CNN's Peter Hamby and Ashley Killough contributed to this report
Go back to being a real estate developer !
Sanford attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America .
He should know the difference between Argentina and the Appalachian trail !
There is other public service besides politics . And why dose he need our forgiveness , he has already forgiven himself .
I wouldn't vote for Mark Sanford , nor would I vote for Bill Clinton, Silvio Berlusconi or Newt Gingrich.
Dishonest, unable to keep his word, sanctimonious, and I suspect the " good people" of South Carolina will elect him He has an R after his name. In the South you can be caught in bed with a dead woman and a live man and they will elect you if you have an R behind your name.
This lies in the philosophical realm of,"Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong" and all the false contrition of the self aggrandized influential people who feel that they are above the social morays of the American social fabric. If someone comes clean, then whatever the reason for their previous failures, they are relevant. It seems more likely that there is a hidden agenda, "the more money, the more honey..." I think there is no room at the inn for these fallen and misguided has-beens. Go away and stay away, it is not our job to forgive in this arena.
Another career politician who can't support himself with a real job. Talk about a welfare recipient!
He's right, we are having a fiscal crises every month. But he doesn't say it 's because of his party. Here is a man who wants forgiveness. He needs to seek that from his wife and his children. I'm sure he would have a good chance to be elected. Republicans have a kind of family values just for republicans. They reflected an serial adulterer, and only when he got caught did he repent. These people only care about themselves and do not and will never possess solid character. We call that a stand up guy. I wonder how many other women he cheated on his wife with. Make no mistak there were more than one. Some journalist should check him out and leave no stone unturned.
Sanford, please just go away. We surely have enough sociopaths in Congress.
Typical shameless "family values" Republican.
Haley sent a lawn jockey to replaced demut. why not. Scamford, falls in line with the highest form of hypocrasy.
Stanford god forgives you seventy times seventy,thats what the lod says in the bible. If the people doesnt forgive you god has. People dont have a heaven or hell to put you in, hold your head up not down let the people talk an you go forward in life.
I am always amazed at how much "forgiveness" conservative republicans expect towards their own indiscretions but how little they are willing to show to others! Sanford, go away!
Anyone who would vote for Mark Sanford for anything should have their head examined. A man who cheats on his wife and children does not deserve to hold a public office of trust.
South Carolina will most likely vote Mark Sanford to the seat ,because they like voting In Cheat and nut head Into office.
I know a lot of good Christians in SC who would forgive him, but they sure as hell wouldn't trust him. Never mind that he lambasted Clinton while he himself was making happy tango with his mistress in Argentina while claiming to be on a "soul-searching Appalacian hike," he was doing it on the taxpayer nickel, during working hours. About the only people who will back this piece of work are his fellow good-ole-boy crooks in Columbia.
The debt crisis du jour . . . the one that Mark Sanford is *really* worried about? Mark Sanford doesn't want have a job, and doesn't really want to go to work. Time to belly back up to the public trough.
It's perfectly reasonable to forgive him his human frailties and still rconclude that his trip down the Appalachian trail has disqualified him from ever again being entrusted with public office.
Besides being a typical republican born again hypocrite, he calls himself a fiscal conservative. I remember him being investigated by ethics for misuse of government aircraft, expensive parties, hotel rooms, trips. The only time this guy is going to meet the truth is when he dies and meets his maker. Although the people of South Carolina, God fearing as they be, will probably forgive Sanford because he's white, Christian and a republican. For them, that's a lot better than the commie socialist muslim Christian hating America hating democrat we have for president. Just love that southern forgiveness
Evangelicals always forgive their own no matter the lies and scandals. U.S. Senator David Vitter and Ralph Reed to name a few. Not so with other religions.
I am soooo..... tired of these people, thinking, they have to ask for 'forgiveness' from the Public for issues that are private + should concern no one but the parties involved! It's utterly exhausting!! I dont CARE who they sleep with!! Having an affair does not impair someones ability to do their job or alter their IQ! – @Marita.