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. Veeblefester

    So they're only dumping him because of the trespassing? What about the fact that he cheated on his wife, disappeared for four days and then lied about where he was while he was Governor?
    Has Wiener dropped out of the NYC mayoral race yet? These people are sociopaths.

    April 17, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. FZero1313

    The level of sleaze, vitriol, and immaturity from the left on display here is exactly what I expected.

    April 17, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. Teamski

    I love the posts about the liberals causing pain for Sanford's son. How about what Sanford did to his son and wife in the first place? Why any Republican would want this piece of garbage in office is beyond me. I guess partisanship trumps common sense.


    April 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. dgm

    Annie, he is from S.C. not N.C.

    April 17, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. John Stockton

    It's okay if you're a republican.

    April 17, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Brian

    If they guy cannot abide by a court order, he's not fit to serve in any office whatsoever. Even if it was harmless, he still defied the court. This, along with his broken marriage and past transgressions, is a pattern of bad behavior. It just is.

    To blame this on the "left" is just idiotic.

    April 17, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Reggiedw

    Why don't the ex-Mrs. Sanford just cool it and stop acting like a fool. Why does she want to continue embarassing her children with this stupid childish accusations. Have the children not suffered enough? It is time for her to grow up and show some respect to her children. She should be happy that their father wants to spend quality time with his son. Come on lady....stop acting so stupid and let your children enjoy the time with their father whether it is at her house or his own. And no....I am not a man.....I am a woman and I am tired of seeing parents using their children to get back at their spouse. Time to move on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. dddwwww

    @veeblefester – Weiner is a Democrat. Sanford is Republican.

    April 17, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. ugh

    What's sad is I'm not even surprised at the number of inbred left AND right wingers who didn't bother to read the article before commenting.

    April 17, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    It's like waiting your turn to address the court for your clients at the probate court and having a couple idiots put on a show for you during their divorce hearing. Someone pass the Reddenbacker....

    April 17, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Pat I Il

    He keeps showing us over and over again that he has absolutely no sense and feels above the law. I don't even have to figure out what is worse for making good decisions....stupidity or arrogance....because he has a full dose of both.

    April 17, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. J.C.

    I'll give ex-Senator John Edwards this: he at least had the common decency to slink off stage and stay out of the spotlight. Sanford and the other jackanapes like him who can't seem to get enough attention–good or bad–should learn a lesson.

    April 17, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Mike in NJ

    Spelling error in last paragraph: Busch, not Bush.

    April 17, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Rich

    I love all the lefty's crying about his personal life being a window in how he runs government but yet these same lefty's gave ole slick willie a freebee for his shiner in the oval office and lies. I guess morals only apply to republicans since they know the dims are lacking there is no need to hold them to account.

    April 17, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. sam

    Please, SC don't embarrass me by electing this trash again. We already look like crazed right-wing apologists. What happened to common sense republicanism?? We're lost.

    April 17, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. ObservantHistorian

    Sanford doesn't have a TV of his own?

    April 17, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. rosie

    The man lied while in office. He cheated on his wife and family. Why in the name of all things pure and descent could ANYONE vote for this man???????????????????? It matters not his party affiliation.

    April 17, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Wow.....

    You know John Edwards was put through the ringer for what he did. And he ended up in court for his actions. But what I really find funny is that Sandford was known to be damaged goods and the Republicans still backed him. I guess it's alright to forgive a immoral Republican that did what he did but not a immoral democrat . The very fact that Sanford thought it was OK to run for office after his mess tells me one thing....his moral views are nearer to a rat. And he doesn't get it at all.......just go away Sanford and don't come back.

    April 17, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Paul MUSC

    As a resident of the 29401, Sanford has represented this are for much longer than people realize. He was a fiscal conservative before it was cool to be a fiscal conservative, before the tea party and before the new conservative libertarian movement. This is just a nice distraction. To those say Sanford "thinks he is above the law" Perhaps they should look at Colbert's nasty divorce where she was held in contempt of court and held in jail for six hours. Perhaps that is why she isn't openly politicizing this event. You would only know that if you lived here, because the national media doesn't cover the negatives about her campaign. One of her newt ads is quite sad. It calls voter id's racist, and then says "somebody doesn't want african americans to vote" Even though we voted for the only black senator.

    April 17, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. joe

    So she is a female dog – I dont think the Republicans can afford to be too picky on kicking someone who is winning to the curb.

    April 17, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. plain&simple

    And anyone would believe Mark Sanford ......Because ne has never lied about his actions before???

    April 17, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. 9hydra

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice. . .

    Anyone considering voting for this clown deserves everything they get. He should have been soundly defeated in the primary. But I guess everyone loves a celebrity, even one famous for being an idiot.

    April 17, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Dave C.

    Was there somebody else there with the 14-yr. old son? If so, maybe they can verify his claim that he tried to reach his ex. If not, then why isn't anyone asking what kind of parent would leave a young child alone and go out of town? There has got to be more to this story than what is written here.

    April 17, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Edith Yeps

    Isn't it interesting that Sanford is feigning deep concern that his son would have had to watch the Super Bowl game alone. Yet he doesn't seem to care that inevitably the child will know all of the unwholesome details of his adulterous affair; his pathological LYING about his whereabouts as he went AWOL from his duties as Governor of South Carolina to meet up with his mistress. Hows come Sanford did nothing to protect his son from these horrific events-truths that reveal that this man has no respect for the office he holds, his state, his ex-wife or his child(ren). Mark Sanford is a serial sleaze ball-an adultery and a liar. However, let's hope that the Republicans RUN him for President next election, alongside Palin or Bachmann. We will win yet again! Even we Democrats miss the Republican party of old?

    April 17, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. John

    If he violated a court order, he could be found in contempt . As for the lame excuse, maybe he was worried about a wardrobe malfunction . Snicker.

    April 17, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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