(CNN) - Former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford addressed the controversy that derailed his marriage and reputation in his first television ad for the special election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District.
"I've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes. But in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances and be the better for it," Sanford says in the spot, looking directly into the camera.
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"In that light," he continued. "I humbly step forward and ask for your help in changing Washington."
Sanford made national headlines in 2009 for admitting in a live press conference that he was involved in an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. Sanford and his wife, Jenny, divorced in 2010 and the then-governor finished out his second term in 2011.
The former governor is now engaged to the Argentinean girlfriend, Maria Belen Chapur.
Since launching his bid last month Sanford has openly acknowledged his recent rocky past in television interviews and on the campaign trail.
The new spot will start running Monday on district-wide cable and will expand to broadcast television next week, his campaign said.
While he recognizes mistakes, his primary message in the campaign focuses on a need to cut spending and balance the budget in the nation's capital.
"Washington's math doesn't add up, and so for years while many have talked, I've fought to do something about it – I've cut spending, reduced debt and made government more accountable," he says in the ad.
Sanford represented the district in Congress from 1995 to 2001, before becoming governor. His ex-wife, Jenny, considered a potential run in the special election as well but ultimately decided against it. She told reporters last month that her ex-husband's Mark's ability to handle questions about the affair "will make or break his campaign."
Sanford is running for the seat vacated by Republican Rep. Tim Scott, who was appointed in December to the Senate after Sen. Jim DeMint resigned from office at the end of 2012 to run the conservative Heritage foundation.
Whoever wins the crowded GOP primary on March 19 is all-but-certain to take the seat, since the district is drawn to favor Republicans.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, is running on the Democratic side. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, assistant minority leader in the House, endorsed Busch on Saturday.
The general election will take place on May 7.
– CNN's Peter Hamby and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.
So true M. Sanford, and you did. You even brought new meaning to "hiking the Appalachian Trail".
A need to cut spending...does that mean no more trips to Argentina while pretending to be on the Appalachian trail all paid for by the tax payer until he is found out? this man should be in prison–in a better more prosperous state–he would have been.
True word. Satan blots human beings "let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1st Corinthians 10: 12).
"He that hath the Son hath Life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not Life" (1st John 5: 12)
What a silly little egotist to be sure.
Stanford, you cheated once you will do it again, so don't try to brain wash the people we are not stupid.
Sanford: "I humbly step forward and ask for your help in changing Washington."
Humbly? One man's "humble" is another mans "cynical", I guess.
You're gonna change Washington? Well, maybe you will, but it won't be a change for the better.
Over and over again we see these politicians doing the Limbo, finding out just how low a snake's belly really is. When they should be hiding themselves in shame, they are launching new political careers instead.
Maybe it is time for him to leave public life and find a job in the private sector. I don't think he is the one we need to bring changes to Washington.
Please Please forgive me now that I want to run for office again. Change washington, you after lying to your consituents, cheaping on your family and disappearing from your job, really??? I hope the people in that district are not stupid enought to hire another republican hypcrite but who knows??
At least he admits he was wrong and isn't forcing the rest of us to sacrifice while he is taking expensive government paid vacations in Hawaii and Florida. As phony as Sanford is, he isn't a corrupt, lying, inept, incompetent, union toady like our current president. I am looking forward to the day he will declare that his vactions will not cost us "one dime more" like he said about Obozocare and his tax plans. Of course those were lies.
Bill Clinton fans can just sit down and be quiet on this one.
The man is the epitome of a lying, cheating hypocrite. Just because he's asked for forgiveness doesn't mean he's changed. I wonder how many times Newt asked for forgiveness? You have to be really, really stupid to vote people like this (back) into public office.
"I've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes......" You could blame all your mistakes on Bush, Mr. Sanford. Seems to work for Obama and his supporters keep lapping up Obama's excuses/failures.
What a tool, dont wasteyour time, yoour career in politics is over, just move on, we will show you how little we care for you, just promise to pay attention
Sadly, the people of SC will probably vote for him.
Sanford,what a clown telling people he's going hiking and then getting caught by the National Enquirer getting off the plane from Argentina where he shacked up with his hiking instructor..Another sanctumonious republican wanting voters to forgive his past behavior like McCain,Gingrich and other republicans,how pathedic as well as politically suicidal because if S.Carolina votes him back they should be tarred and feathered just for their ignorence but then again we know after McCain, Palin,Romney and the rest that we saw that republicans never had any brains didn't we!!
Your mistake was being heartless during one of the greater recession that America ever seen you rejected the ARRA (stimulus) for political reason. You have preached purity until you got lost in the Appalachia. Now you wanted the government job you hated so much? Just too much hypocrisy my friend you defined the GOP very well welcome to the Party of obstruction. You deserve to be the member of the house GOP.
Yes Stanford, we all make mistakes, BUT we do not act without thinking what consequences will follow after, especially when a person holds a position as you had. Remember Stanford the saying: "Think first before you act/lip out"!
Bill Clinton, meet Mark Sanford. Mark Sanford, former president Bill Clinton. Funny story, Mark... When Bill was sleeping with that young little intern during his presidency all the people that are now chastising you were saying, "What's the big deal?".