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. ?

    they make you register your car but not a, I have just lost faith in America

    the answer to "mass murder" lies in parents and young men, the majority of these incidents happen with college dropouts, the students adviser needs to be in a dialogue with the kids parents when it becomes clear that the young man is failing out, and the parents need to ensure their child is disarmed

    they should make men wait until they are at least 25 before purchasing handguns and semiautomatic rifles, you can own an m16 in America before you can sit at a bar and drink a beer

    what a shame our country has become

    April 17, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. republican Family Values

    I don't know about you, but I totally believe him.

    Just another example of his "republican Family values," and his love of the Super Bowl. These things FORCED him to violate a court order!

    April 17, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. ?

    the problem is that we give guns to children, you should make boys wait until they are men before giving them these things

    April 17, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. republican Family Values

    You've got to laugh at republicans, the world leaders in hypocrisy!

    How anyone, except this buffoon's mother, could vote for him is absolutely embarrassing to everything republican. He is a walking "poster child" for everything cheap, self-serving, ignorant and disgusting about today's republican party.

    April 17, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. ?

    definitely was intending to post these comments on the gun control article, I guess the next post thing brings you to new articles – thanks cnn

    April 17, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Siestasis

    He doesn't have a TV at his house. He lies, he was checking out Jenny's house. The man is a stalker and a scumbag and anybody who votes for him is not better.

    April 17, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. LouAZ

    Would someone explain why a 14 year old boy should NOT watch the SuperBowl alone ?

    April 17, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. abcd12

    If this law would take money out of your pocket .would you vote for it. This is what it really about. Call It LOBBY MONEY.

    April 17, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Jeb2016- We owe the Bushes another shot at bringing the country down!

    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.

    When you come home to your private property and a person who has been told in the past that they are not permitted to enter your property without your permission is sitting is there, that's not an accusation, its a fact. Repeated requests to desist were not honored. Legal intervention is the only option.

    Or are you against the notion of private property?

    Sanford seems to be adding "stalking" to his resume. Let's hope he will not be renewing the title of "Congressman" on said resume.

    April 17, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  10. us_1776

    Sanford, no one believes this web of lies of yours.

    So you're going to watch tv with your son.

    Then why are you breaking into your wife's home by the light of your cellphone?

    Wouldn't your son just open the door for you?

    Totally ridiculous pack of lies.


    April 17, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. BobFromPA

    Given the facts behind this guy and his dereliction of duty when he was off philandering with a woman in Argentina leaving the state government in turmoil because no one could make decisions that were his alone, you have to scratch your head and wonder how in the world he is at this point politically in the first place. What are the Republican votes of the great state of South Carolina thinking.

    April 17, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. Surprised

    I hope the Democrat wins. There has to be something wrong with this guy – other than the obvious – he is a politician.

    April 17, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. yogi

    The thinking power of this hiker is really limited, but even scarier is that a large part of the electorate in SC keeps voting for this "family value" republican. The GOP circus knows no limits with it's clown acts. Vote all the champions of hypocrisy out of office at every election, so we can continue with civilization.

    April 17, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    He sounds like just another lying political hack who thinks that the rules the rest of live by don't apply to him. What an arrogant fop. A $400,000.00 bill for a dental visit and haircut!!! I'd make him reimburse the state treasurer, give him a dose of reality the rest of us have to contend with.

    April 17, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Gambi

    Mark Sanford is not trust worthy. If he wins this election for congress then we in South Carolina deserve what we get a sociopath who is not capable of knowing what it means to have rules and boundaries. This guy feels he is entitled to whatever he pleases to do he clearly violated his ex wife's privacy. If she entered his house without permission I'm sure his "fiance" would have plenty to say. If he was such a wonderful father he would have invited his son to watch the game at his place or maybe Miss Argentina doesn't like football or kids.

    April 17, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Guest

    He's just like Bill Clinton.

    April 17, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. judith

    Sanford, such a wonderful representative for the GOP.

    April 17, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. mmk

    I think Sanford has mental health issues. Sure hope he doesn't keep a gun in the house.

    April 17, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. America The Abyss

    When sealed court documents are made public for political purpose you know your country is headed for disaster and is sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss!

    April 17, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. rswon

    I have no love for any Republican. But, this issue stinks of everything wrong with Divorce laws. The Father wanted to watch the Super Bowl with his son, whom she left alone in the house. She's a vindictive woman using the court system to keep a Father away from his son. It makes me sick.

    April 17, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  21. Jim

    Another politician that thinks the laws don't apply to him or common sense shouldn't be a common attribute. What a goof ball!

    April 17, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  22. Larry

    Hey Mark, Citizens want politicians that aren't enamored with themselves and think they are the world's gift to the political scene. You are really out of touch with right and wrong, but you obviously don't understand that principle. Go home and get a volunteer job.

    April 17, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  23. farmerjeani

    Oh come on people! I'm a female liberal democrat and would never vote for a conservative Republican, but this is just pure spite and vindictiveness. Maybe she wants him kept away from her, but this is his son and she was out of town. He could have watched the game in a bar. Do you think she would have yelled criminal trespass if it was one of her son's friends? Maybe he's a jerk and and a crappy husband, but that doesn't mean he's a bad father. Give him and the rest of the people who suffer from vindictive ex's ( male and female) a break and call it like it is. A dad spending time with his kid.

    April 17, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  24. Joe

    I guess It's not the worst thing a politician has done.

    April 17, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. Steve

    The word "arrogant" does NOT begin to describe this man.

    April 17, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5