In final stretch, Sanford fights to stay afloat in S.C.
April 23rd, 2013
09:12 AM ET
12 months ago

In final stretch, Sanford fights to stay afloat in S.C.

(CNN) – Republican Mark Sanford's bruised campaign is fighting to bounce back in the South Carolina special congressional race after having a few rough days last week.

The campaign released a new television ad Tuesday attacking Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert Busch for accepting contributions from labor unions. The six-figure spot will run on broadcast and cable in the Savannah and Charleston markets, according to the campaign.

With the May 7 special election just weeks away, Sanford's team was dealt a blow last week when court documents revealed his ex-wife, Jenny, had filed complaints against Sanford for trespassing on her property. He's scheduled for a court appearance two days after the election.

Not long after the story broke, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced it was pulling out of the race-and national Democratic groups announced they were throwing more money into the contest for the 1st Congressional District, a longtime Republican stronghold. In fact, Sanford represented the same district in the House before being elected South Carolina governor in 2002.

In the new commercial, first reported by Politico, a narrator says Colbert Busch is "fighting for big labor" and has been "funded by labor union special interest money."

"Labor's voice. Pelosi's voice," the ad continues. "Not our voice."

Labor is a sensitive topic in South Carolina, as the Palmetto State has been fighting back labor protests to bring a new Boeing plant to the state. The company, however, announced earlier this month it was expanding in South Carolina, a big victory for labor union opponents.

When Colbert Busch praised Boeing's move, Sanford's campaign was quick to point out that she had accepted contributions from unions that fought against Boeing's plant in North Charleston.

With their new ad, it seems Sanford's campaign finds it best to keep pushing on the union front in the final stretch of the race.

In another sign Sanford is struggling to stay out front, he released a full-page ad Sunday in Charleston's Post and Courier explaining again the trespassing incident in a lengthy letter to voters.

"I was returning a son from neighborhood Super Bowl party. 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 sit alone and watch it. Given Jenny 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 and told her what had happened," he he wrote.

Agreements from their divorce prohibited the couple from visiting the other's property without permission. During his second term as governor, Sanford admitted in 2009 he was having an extramarital affair with an Argentinean woman, who's now his fiancée. He and Jenny got divorced in 2010.

In the full page ad, Sanford gave his cell phone number if voters had further questions and noted that national Democratic groups were pouring more money into the race.

"I need your help, and I need it now," he said, comparing his campaign to those trying to defend the Alamo in 1836. "I'm outnumbered right now but will fight to the end toward freedom and financial sanity in Washington so important to sustaining it. I'd ask you to cross the line and fight with me."

Also part of their offensive strategy, Sanford is highlighting that Colbert Busch, sister of satirist Stephen Colbert, has only accepted one debate invitation. His campaign is calling for television stations to broadcast the showdown, set for April 29. And Sanford's team proposed 15 joint appearances with Colbert Busch this week, but she indicated she would not be participating.

"With the compressed time frame of the special election, Elizabeth is focused on spending time talking with the people of the district," James Smith, press secretary, said. "She looks forward to debating Mark Sanford on April 29 about the issues in this race – creating jobs, putting our fiscal house back in order and representing our values. In the meantime, she has an aggressive schedule of public events to talk direct with the public about their priorities, ideas and concerns – and she will be hosting a rally Wednesday night to get out the vote."

Also Wednesday, Colbert Busch's campaign says the candidate will announce the formation of "Republicans for Elizabeth Colbert Busch," which as the name states is an effort to recruit and engage Republicans in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District.


Filed under: House • Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    All ego and no brains... What a guy!

    April 23, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. Larry L

    Aw come on folks... Sanford has already said he "talked to Jesus and he forgave him"... Surely he wouldn't lie to you, a bunch of people he doesn't know and didn't make sacred vows to honor...

    We all need to set the bar for integrity a little higher. This guy is just another political weasel. He cheated on his wife with a hot chick, got caught, and was sorry he got caught. Would you vote for John Edwards? How about Newt?

    April 23, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Who would vote for this ego maniac? It's has always and will forever be about HIM! NOT YOU THE PEOPLE!

    April 23, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    A great American political tradition: mud slinging.

    April 23, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Independent Thinker

    Desperation at its best. As a resident of South Carolina, I feel if we elect this buffoon we get all we ask for. We wil be the laughing stock of the US, if we are not already for even contemplating re-electing this fool

    April 23, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. Bill

    It's over for Sanford.

    April 23, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  7. A Kickin` Donkey

    If the National Republican party had any integrity, or simply political sense, they would STOP having candidates / office holders that require an asterik [*] next to the "R" next to their name. Oh, it may not appear in print but I assure you, it appears in our minds – Sanford R*, Vitter R*, Akin R*, Murdoch R*, Ensign R*. Who will be next? You KNOW its coming.

    The Democrats ran Anthony Weiner out of Congress and his transgression . . . SEXTing.

    See the difference in the parties?

    April 23, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. sonny chapman

    He broke THE LAW. Repubs. hold THE LAW as Sacred. No AMNESTY for Illegal Aliens. No Amnesty for Sanford the Flake.

    April 23, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    Even with all these setbacks, I fully expect this guy to be reelected. SC will NOT vote for a democrat no matter what. And then they'll complain about Weiner if he runs....

    April 23, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. MaryM

    Give it up Sanford, you are done

    April 23, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Bessy

    @ independent thinker– I, and most people I know, already think the people of So. Carolina are ridiculous for even considering this guy as a candidate. If he gets re elected than you do truly deserve what you get.

    April 23, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. Chipster

    Why would Labor Unions support Colbert Busch? Perhaps they prefer someone who will work to provide JOBS ! If you want someone who goes AWOL, wasting a lot of taxpayer money on authorities looking for a missing governor, Sanford's your guy. If you want someone creepy enough to violate "no trespass" orders to stay off of his ex-wife's property, Sandford is your guy. If you want someone who has experience creating jobs, balancing budgets, and actually showing up for work – you probably should consider voting for Colbert Busch

    April 23, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    Misuse of taxpayer dollars is a CRIME Senor Sanford. Must we keep reminding you of that?

    April 23, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  14. The Dude

    I guess Sanford couldn't find a real job so he wants back on the government teat.

    April 23, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. Evergreen

    I am tired of the union bashing. Unions helped to create the middle class. Corporate fat cats fight to keep wages low so they can keep their multi million dollar bonuses.

    April 23, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    Regardless of his political skills, Sandford broke the trust of the people in his state, destroyed his family and now believes all is well and thinks he should be allowed back? The Party of No, the Obstructionist Party, the party of family values needs to stop shooting itself in the foot with candidates like this. There's a whole laundry list of buffoonery from the Teapugs – Sanford, Akin, Murdoch, Graham, McCain, McConnell, Boehner, Cain, Romney, Santorum, Perry, and others. Perhaps they should focus on a candidate that actually lives up to the dogma the preach?

    April 23, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Sniffit

    Aaaaaah, the "Angle Effect." Next up: SC state legislature enacts myriad new election laws designed to suppress Dem voter demographics. Bet on it.

    April 23, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Sniffit

    "He broke THE LAW. Repubs. hold THE LAW as Sacred. No AMNESTY for Illegal Aliens. No Amnesty for Sanford the Flake."

    Except, and this is an important difference: What Sanford did was arguably a crime (albeit a bit of a stretch to actually bother trying to prosecute it, particularly with a SC jury), but illegal immigration is NOT...it is a CIVIL offense. Whether you agree with my opinion on the former, the latter is the more important point and is a fact that neither the GOP/Teatrolls nor the MSM want people to understand.

    April 23, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Data Driven

    If you're explaining, you've lost.

    This might be the exception that proves the rule, however. The Sandford campaign has been clever enough to exploit South Carolinians' contempt of labor unions. Won't much matter, whichever way it turns out: Busch will have to govern as a very Blue Dog in that state, to the point that the policies proposed would be largely the same.

    April 23, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. plain&simple

    Ok South Carolina forgive Mark and send him home to hos fianceeWWITHOUT A JOB!!! He and his girlfriend can have a bliss filled life in anonymity!!!

    April 23, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. John from Brooklyn

    Sigghhh.....only in the crazy Dixie bubble do people think its a BAD thing to accept campaign donations from working stiffs.

    April 23, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Thomas

    Anthony Weiner / Mark Sanford'

    Love is never having to say your sorry 2016 .

    April 23, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Sniffit

    Except Weiner never slept with that woman or ran off to a foreign country on the taxpayers' dime & time to do so. It's becoming pretty obvious that not only are conservatives incapable of detecting irony, but they also seem to have incredible difficulty with analogies.

    April 23, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Wired Weird in SF

    Key trial begins in St. Joesphe County, IN. It involves a democrat liberal (union member and official) stealing the primary vote in that state for the illegitmate president we currently have. Fox of course will cover it. I have seen no mention of it in CNN or MSNBC (not really surprised).

    April 23, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    Except Weiner never slept with that woman or ran off to a foreign country on the taxpayers' dime & time to do so. It's becoming pretty obvious that not only are conservatives incapable of detecting irony, but they also seem to have incredible difficulty with analogies.
    -----------------------------------------------
    DITTO

    April 23, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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