Sanford claims Super Bowl defense in trespassing
April 17th, 2013
12:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford claims Super Bowl defense in trespassing

(CNN) – Mark Sanford's bid for Congress in South Carolina was dealt a major blow Wednesday when national Republicans said they would no longer support him after learning his ex-wife accused him of illegally entering her home.

"Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election," Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement.

The accusations of trespassing leveled at Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina governor, by his ex-wife Jenny Sanford arose after he visited his son to watch the Super Bowl.

"I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14 year old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone," Mark Sanford wrote. "Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened."

The explanation came the day after news broke Sanford has been ordered to appear in court two days after the May election in which he's contending to become South Carolina's next congressman. On Wednesday, Sanford went up with his first general election ad criticizing Democratic rival Elizabeth Colbert Busch, and a national Democratic group said it was beginning a six-figure campaign against Sanford.

Jenny Sanford claims in court documents she saw her ex-husband leaving her Sullivan's Island home on Feb. 3, roughly three weeks after Mark Sanford announced his bid for Congress.

"It's an unfortunate reality that divorced couples sometimes have disagreements that spill over into family court," Mark Sanford wrote in his statement. "I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14 year old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone. Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened."

Read more: First on CNN: Sanford warned about trespassing in 2011

The couple were divorced in 2010 after the then-governor admitted he was carrying on an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. He finished out his gubernatorial term in 2011 and has since become engaged to the same woman.

On Tuesday, Jenny Sanford wrote in a message to CNN, "I understood [the documents] were to have remained part of the sealed divorce docs. This is a private matter and I have no further comment."

Sanford said in his statement he is "particularly curious how records that were sealed to avoid the boys dealing with embarrassment are now somehow exposed less than three weeks before this election."

He said he agreed with his ex-wife that the "media is no place to debate what is ultimately a family court matter."

Seeking political redemption, Sanford won the Republican primary this month in a race to fill the 1st District seat left vacant when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Tim Scott to the Senate late last year.

It's the same district Sanford represented in Congress before becoming governor.

As he deals with the trespassing controversy, Sanford is also going on the attack against his Democratic opponent. In his first TV commercial since he became the GOP nominee, Sanford highlights Colbert Busch's union ties.

"Elizabeth Colbert Busch says she knows jobs and will be independent, but she's not telling you that she's supported by labor unions," says the female narrator in the 30-second spot. "Nearly $30,000 in checks from big labor, even from the union who tried to shut down Boeing and ship a thousand jobs out of South Carolina."

The Sanford campaign confirms to CNN that the ad will start running Wednesday through April 22, and that the campaign will spend nearly $100,000 to run the spot on broadcast and cable television in the Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia markets, which cover nearly all of South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. The campaign is also running the ad on radio in Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina.

National Journal first reported the new Sanford commercial.

Also Wednesday, a political action committee that backs Democratic House candidates, announced that it would begin a three-week, six-figure media campaign. As part of that push, House Majority PAC unveiled its first TV ad which attacks Sanford's image as a fiscal conservative.

"Mark Sanford may claim to be a fiscal conservative, but as governor he flew around the world in high style – even jetting to the dentist and a hair dresser – and stuck South Carolinians with the $400,000 bill," said House Majority PAC Communications Director Andy Stone, in announcing the new spot, titled "Air Sanford."

Sanford and Colbert Bush, sister of satirist and Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, face off in a May 7 special election for the seat that Sanford held for three terms before being elected governor in 2002.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Peter Hamby, Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    This is GREAT ! Please, MORE! We NEED this at times like this.

    April 17, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Binga Linga

    Being in the public eye usually results in a bright light to pierce the darkness.

    April 17, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    A soap opera needs to be made of this guy and his scandalous actions. It may be a private matter in your eyes Senor Sanford, but you made it a public matter when you misused taxpayer money.

    April 17, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Dude, go away, you and wagging Weiner. Have you no shame or are you like most Republican politicians?? Afraid to have to do real work in the real world, so you go into Politics where you don't have to do anything except reap the benefits.

    April 17, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. just sayin

    despicable left wing haters dragging his poor kids through the mud just to get to sanford just because he wanted to see his kid.

    April 17, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Homer Simpson

    Amazing how he is yet again the victim. he obviously has no respect, or fear of the law, perfect candidate to represent our citizens. and the union sending jobs away,is of course the opposite of the truth. it was an attempt to screw the unions, probrably by a republican backed military contractor, they bid on two different versions of the same plane, one was more costly to build, that was the one the union bid on and lost, the bidding was rigged

    April 17, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Hcall

    The guy just wanted to watch the game with his son. This has nothing to do with his stance on the political issues that should determine the election. If anything it elevates his status in my eyes. I'm not a religious fanatic or anything but "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" comes to mind

    April 17, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein

    Really? He went to his see his son who was watching the Super Bowl alone? An e-mail would have been sufficient but doesn't sound like he sent one of them. Does the son confirm this? Wouldn't he have his own party to go to?

    April 17, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Now he's using his son (one of the four kids) he ran out on-on Father's Day? This guy has no shame.

    April 17, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Homer Simpson

    He leaves his position of governer, lies about where he is going, has an affair, disregards an court order, why is he a good guy again? he's not! he is a man who knows nothing else but doing nothing for a living, real work is a soberig thought

    April 17, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Homer Simpson

    Since when did unions send union jobs to other countries? they dont, this guy seriously struggles with the truth, and acting responsible.

    April 17, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. skywatcher888

    If their effect on the country as a whole weren't so tragic, the antics of the GOP would be entertaining. They really ought to have their own reality show.

    April 17, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Jeff O'Dette

    Its astounding that even 1 person would vote for this moron. Or vote for any GOP

    April 17, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Homer Simpson

    He knows theres not alot of places you can lie at all day, and still get paid

    April 17, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. DumbasRocks [R]s

    You gotta luv it. The [R]s still think politics is a clown show, and they keep rolling out their best clowns. [R]s claim to want to learn the lessons of the last election, but they are just stumped.

    There are so many brainless clowns in the [R] party now that those trying desperately to stem the clown-tide just get stampeded.

    April 17, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. chill

    So now Sanford thinks that if you are supported by working people, there must be something wrong with you. I'd be proud of their backing. Better than a cheating, lying pig.

    April 17, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. timverba

    If Mrs. Sanford wanted to keep her life private then she should have found a different route than filing tresspassing charges (a criminal matter which would be open to a public hearing). Apparently she wanted to stick it to her ex-husband without anyone else knowing, and tried to slip a tresspassing charge to leverage her divorce settlement. I foresee a reality show in the making.

    April 17, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. wwf

    Funny how the GOP or any politician can seek forgiveness over and over and over again and everything is just fine. Just ask Newt! Again, the party that talks about the sanctity of marriage. What a joke.

    April 17, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Mike

    This has nothing to do with him wanting to be with his son when he's watching the Superbowl. The court set out specific parameters before he could go to his wife's house. Because he didn't notify her or make arrangements with her beforehand, he was trespassing; hence, he broke the law. I'm rather sure his son could have watched the Superbowl by himself without major psychological damage. Sanford should have stuck to the letter of the law, especially when he was once again campaigning to become a maker of the law.

    April 17, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. MrBeenThere

    "I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14 year old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone.
    The Law is the Law you broke it , Broke it now pay the piper..................
    What a lame excuse my son shouldn't watch it alone........... what planet are you from......... be worried about working Mom's and latch key Kids, young children having to walk home alone and fix themselves there own meals. Care about them Mr. Family Values.
    Again I ask you what planet are you from...... your child is 14 YEARS OLD............ you afraid the Super Bowl is inappropriate for him to watch by his little self..............

    April 17, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. rr

    Why wasn't he watching the Super Bowl with the.."The Love Of His Life"? I won't believe him if the good Lord Jesus came down and asked me to.

    April 17, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Mr Sanford seems to have little regard for laws when it comes to him. Just we people are looking for in a law maker?

    April 17, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Name lynn

    Jenny you sitting yourself up for failure because your ex says he was watching the superbowl with his son not you, lady please get a life.

    April 17, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. sly

    A new Republican hero is born! Womenizing, adulterer, and spending my taxpayer dollars on his Saudi girlfriend (or was she Tanzanian, I forgot) was not sufficient to gain Southern Republican votes.

    But felony burglary or whatever he was doing in someone else's house should gain the rest of the right wing vote.

    This man should be the Republican nominee for President. He is so Nixon-esque.

    April 17, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    OMG – what a bald-faced liar. If he wanted to be with his son he could have picked him up and taken him to his house. Or was his latin lover against that?

    April 17, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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