(CNN) - She's the other woman in a special congressional election in South Carolina that's captured national attention.
No. We're not talking about Maria Belen Chapur, the woman from Argentina who in 2009 was involved in an affair with Gov. Mark Sanford. Fast forward to 2013 and the former governor is now divorced from his wife and engaged to Chapur, and he's seeking political redemption as he runs for a vacant House seat that he once held for three terms. Sanford's been very open about the affair on the campaign trail making it the subject of his first political ad.
The other woman we're talking about is actually House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who the Sanford campaign has repeatedly tied to Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert and Sanford's Democratic opponent in next Tuesday's special election.
"I've fought hard over the years to make South Carolina a better place to call home. But those efforts pale now against the larger battle for the direction of our country. Maybe that's why Nancy Pelosi and allies have spent more than a million dollars to defeat me. But this contest is bigger than them or me, it's about two different visions of how we restore America and reign in Washington spending," says Sanford, looking into the camera in a new commercial that his campaign says will run district wide starting Wednesday.
Sanford has repeatedly brought up the former House Speaker recently, and last week even debated a cardboard cutout poster of Pelosi to call out Colbert Busch for not accepting more than one debate. Sanford had invited Colbert Busch, an official with Clemson University's wind turbine drive testing facility, to a series of debates prior to the May 7 special election, but the Democratic candidate agreed to one showdown, which was held Monday.
At that debate Sanford said that a vote for Colbert Busch would also be a vote for Pelosi, who has high negatives with Republican voters and who most likely would become House speaker again if the Democrats run the table and regain control of the chamber in the 2014 midterm elections. And he once again brought up the money that national Democratic groups have poured into the South Carolina race recently.
"What it says is, whose voice do you carry when you go to Washington, D.C.?" he said Monday, pointing to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that national Democratic groups have spent on the race.
Colbert Busch, responding to the Sanford criticism, sought to distance herself from Washington.
"I want to be very clear, Mark, nobody tells me what to do, except the people in South Carolina's first district," she said at the debate. "I am a fiscally conservative, independent tough businesswoman."
It's not just Sanford who brings up Pelosi. So does his campaign spokesman. Responding Tuesday to new TV ad by a pro-Democratic group that highlighted Sanford's affair, Joel Sawyer told CNN that "this new ad is still more evidence that pro-Pelosi forces are heavily invested in getting another reliable vote for her agenda in Congress. We believe voters of the 1st District will see through attempts to buy this race on Nancy Pelosi's behalf," Sawyer said.
The strategy appears simple. Tie Colbert Bush to Pelosi in hopes of convincing Republican voters (in a district held by the GOP for three decades) to vote for Sanford, who is carrying a load of political baggage dating back to his infamous affair.
The congressional seat became vacant when Rep. Tim Scott, who won re-election by 27 percentage points in last November's election, was named by GOP Gov. Nikki Haley to fill the Senate seat of Sen. Jim DeMint, who stepped down late last year to take over as the head of the conservative Heritage Foundation.