April 2nd, 2013
09:31 PM ET
1 year ago

Mark Sanford, former South Carolina governor, wins GOP nomination for House seat

(CNN) – Mark Sanford overcame the latest hurdle in his South Carolina political redemption tour, ending Tuesday night with a concession from his opponent in the GOP primary runoff for a U.S. House seat.

Results showed the former South Carolina governor had 57% of the vote, compared with 43% held by former Charleston City Councilman Curtis Bostic. That was a difference of about 6,000 votes out of about 45,000 cast.

Jake Tapper interviews Mark Sanford Wednesday on "The Lead" - 4 p.m. ET, only on CNN.


Sanford said he was “humbled” and “thankful” for the win, calling his competitor “a gentleman.”

His fiancee, Maria Belen Chapur, made a rare public appearance, standing at his side Tuesday evening. Revelations about his extramarital affair with her in 2009 led many observers to conclude his political career was over.

“I congratulate the governor on his race,” Bostic told supporters after conceding. “I want to be the first to say, ‘Congratulations, campaign well-run, we wish you the very, very best.’ ”

Sanford now goes on to the May 7 special election against Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

In a statement Tuesday night, she said she looked forward to a “vigorous campaign” and said the heavily Republican district needs “a voice in Washington who stands up for South Carolina solutions not either political party.”

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden wrote in a statement that “South Carolina families clearly deserve a continuation of the strong fiscal discipline displayed by now-Senator Tim Scott and will greatly benefit from Sanford’s fiscal hawk approach. Without a doubt, Mark Sanford will campaign tirelessly to grow South Carolina jobs and work to get our nation’s massive spending problem under control.”

Sanford's past infidelity is front and center in battle for the state's 1st Congressional District, which he represented from 1995 to 2001 before being elected the Palmetto State's governor for two terms.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Sanford thanked voters, saying that while God forgives, “sometimes the voters aren’t so forgiving.”

Bostic claimed in Thursday's debate that Sanford was a "compromised candidate" because of his extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. The affair came to light in 2009, sinking any hopes Sanford had of making a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

"Trust is a crucial issue,” he said. “In fact, it has become a crucial issue in this race."

Sanford and his then-wife, Jenny, were divorced in 2010, and Sanford finished his second term as governor in January 2011. He's now engaged to the woman with whom he had the affair.

Sanford, who's touting his fiscal conservative credentials as he campaigns for Congress, is also asking the public for a second chance, telling CNN that he was seeking "redemption" by running for office again. He came in first in a 16-candidate primary two weeks ago but finished with 37% of the vote, far short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. But he was far ahead of Bostic, who narrowly edged out state Sen. Larry Grooms to finish second with 13%.

Sanford said his first-place finish was "incredibly humbling."

"The events of 2009 absolutely represent a failure on my part, for which there were and probably always will be consequences," added Sanford. "But that does not mean, because you have had failure in your personal life, that you cannot step back into life again."

But Bostic, who had won the support of some top social conservative leaders, disagreed, arguing that the congressional seat - which has been held by the GOP since 1981 - would become vulnerable if Sanford became the Republican nominee.

"A compromised candidate is not what we need. It's just not what we need. We need to secure this seat. It needs to be red," Bostic said, citing surveys that indicated that Colbert Busch was leading Sanford.

But Bostic did not repeat his criticism of Sanford's infidelity at their second debate last weekend.

Colbert Busch is the sister of Stephen Colbert, the satirist and host of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central. He's campaigned on his sister's behalf, recently telling Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and anchor of CNN's The Lead, that "she's my sister, and I'm willing to, you know, break the jewel of my own creation to try to do something for her."

Colbert Busch, an official with Clemson University's wind turbine drive testing facility, is expected to have an uphill climb in the general election because the district is heavily Republican.

GOP Rep. Tim Scott won re-election to the seat by 27 percentage points in last November's election. But when Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina stepped down from his seat late last year to take over as the head of the conservative Heritage Foundation, GOP Gov. Nikki Haley named Scott to fill the seat, triggering the special election to fill his seat.

– CNN’s Steve Brusk and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (408 Responses)
  1. norma jean

    SANFORD HAS MADE FOOLS OF ALL YOU REPUBS....FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END OF THIS LITTLE FAIRY TALE!!!!!

    April 2, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  2. Boisepoet

    Republicans; can they be more hypocritical in their morals and choices?

    April 2, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  3. dubya

    Sanford is another repube hipocrit.

    April 2, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  4. Lance Pierce

    The fact that he had an extramarital affair is between him and his wife. The voters of South Carolina should be more concerned that this guy went AWOL and abandoned his post for nearly a week. He lied to and misled his own staff about his whereabouts. His affair is his own personal weakness but his disappearing act and lies to his staff had implications for the people of his state. That to me speaks volumes about his since of duty and obligation. If he is elected to public office again then what will happen with his next diversion?

    April 2, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  5. yogi

    Running against another Republican is one thing, on the next trail he can't keep up and will loose against a much better candidate, Colbert Bush. Gosh why did she have to have that Bush attachment?

    April 2, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  6. Michael

    Republicans. Family values in SC. €)

    April 2, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. szinda

    Apparently South Carolina republicans couldn't find a candidate to nominate that isn't a liar and cheat. Unbelievable. People wonder why politics are so messed up right now. Our stupid populous keeps reelecting the same liars and cheats. This guy not only cheated on his wife and married his mistress (who he's still married to), but he lied to the American people multiple times until he knew he couldn't lie anymore.

    April 2, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  8. Plm931

    So much for the family values that the republicans say they represent. An adulterer – sure, great family values.

    April 3, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. SecrtSqurl

    Typical Republican behavior.

    April 3, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  10. Getoverit

    Hhmmm... So I guess the Republicans won't be thrown out on their ear...

    April 3, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  11. Ferathka

    This says so much about the modern day GOP. They preach about "family values" but they nominate someone who totally destroyed them The modern day Republican party is full of a bunch of hypocrites.....sad really.

    April 3, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. sqeptiq

    Proof on the hoof that republican voters in South Carolina view "family values" as just marketing slogans, words without meaning.

    April 3, 2013 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  13. ItsAMirage

    When a Rep commits adultery, lies, uses public resources for his own sake on his adulterous affair, all he has to do is "God forgive me" and all Reps......forgive.

    When a Dem does the same, Reps vilified him for life.

    Reps are.......HIPOCRITES.

    April 3, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  14. cbp

    What message does this send? Where do family values fit in here? Interesting vote count for sure.

    April 3, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  15. HitchedBritches

    "Win puts Sanford on trail for comeback"

    Anyone else notice the clever jab in the headline?

    April 3, 2013 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  16. Thomas

    Nikki Haley / Mark Sanford
    Bimbo and Bozo 2016
    The State of South Carolina must be a great place for developers and real-estate investors .

    April 3, 2013 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  17. Anthony in California

    Family Values, eh Republicans....
    (crickets)

    April 3, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  18. David O

    I guess if you are a Republican in SC, the redemption tour is safer than the Appalachian Trail tour.

    April 3, 2013 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  19. Justin

    I live in SC and are you telling me that the people are so stupid...that they would elect this piece of trash to public office AGAIN!!!?!?!?! After he used TAXPAYER money to travel to Argentina and have a relationship with his concubine...UNBELIEVABLE....REMARKABLE....SOUTH CAROLINA...OH MY BELOVED STATE YOU ARE ALL FOOLS!

    April 3, 2013 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  20. tommyrock80

    Wow. The same party that went after Clinton for the same thing... thus stopping up a focus on a threat from the Middle East named Osama Bin Laden. God Bless America!

    April 3, 2013 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  21. MesaMax

    Hillary Clinton is toast for her malfeasance and misfeasance regarding the Benghazi Consulate Massacre.

    April 3, 2013 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  22. ldavid69

    I can not believe people still vote for this guy.

    April 3, 2013 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  23. Dave

    Knowingly electing trash. The republican way........

    April 3, 2013 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  24. JOHN FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA. PROUD ULTRA LIBERAL DEMOCRAT

    Tom Hayden should be the King of the USA

    April 3, 2013 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  25. Brad

    In his victory speech Tuesday night, Sanford thanked voters, saying that while God forgives, “sometimes the voters aren’t so forgiving.”

    Last I heard "Thou shalt not commit adultery" was one of the Ten Commandments. A little assuming wouldn't you think?

    April 3, 2013 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
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