May 1st, 2013
11:48 AM ET
12 months ago

Sanford focused on Pelosi in run up to vote

(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.


Filed under: Mark Sanford • Nancy Pelosi • South Carolina
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Maria Belen Chapur, the woman from Argentina who in 2009 was involved in an affair with Gov. Mark Sanford dose look a little similar to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    Deep down Mark loves Pelosi , whats to be just like her .

    Sanford , Mommy issues !

    May 1, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Well, I suppose by now it should be obvious to everyone that the Sanford campaign has decided they can't win the contest if they run against Colbert-Busch. Buh-bye, Mark....you were entertaining, but show's over....tick tock...15 minutes up.

    May 1, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Greg in Arkansas

    Sounds like Sanford is either secretly sporting wood for Nancy.....or he doesn't really know who his opponent is, at any rate, this guy is down right pitiful.

    May 1, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. sonny chapman

    "PLEASE don't focus on me"

    May 1, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    Man up Senor Sanford! Your opponent is Elizabeth Colbert-Busch.

    May 1, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. much thunder..little rain

    sanford is no prince...nancy sacrifice all blue dog democrats with her far left agenda...thats sanford game plan..his state hates nancy so much that it will be a vote for him

    May 1, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. emmDFW

    What's the deal with republicans talking to inanimate objects??

    May 1, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. lolo

    That's the GOp for you, blames anyone but me syndrome. One down and Boehner, McConnell, Cruz, Bachmann and Cantor to go.

    May 1, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. PJ

    So, by his logic:
    A vote for Colbert Busch is a vote for Pelosi, or
    A vote for Sanford is a vote for Boehner? Well, I guess they could compare tanning creams.

    May 1, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    This guy really needs to go away. What the heck does Nancy Pelosi have to do with anything??

    Typical GOP behavior. They know their candidate is toast, so let's divert their attention away from the fact that he's a lying, cheating, scumbag who left his family and his post to chase tail halfway around the world. But let's talk Pelosi. Hilarious.

    May 1, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    @Greg in Arkansas – Sounds like Sanford is either secretly sporting wood for Nancy.....or he doesn't really know who his opponent is, at any rate, this guy is down right pitiful.
    -----------------------------
    The man does have a life-sized poster of Pelosi and is okay with talking to it in public. He's just plain creepy.

    May 1, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. rs

    The poor slob doesn't even know who he is running against. If Sanford feels he can't win with all his baggage against Colbert-Busch, maybe he should try an empty chair....
    That'll work!

    May 1, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. California

    Pelosi is a perfect example of what's wrong with this country.

    May 1, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    After his defeat, Sanford is welcome to visit beautiful San Francisco, famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Cable Cars going up and down steep hills, Chinatown, North Beach, America Cup races, restaurants, museums, and Nancy Pelosi.

    May 1, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "The man does have a life-sized poster of Pelosi and is okay with talking to it in public. He's just plain creepy."

    And cowardly. Pelosi would eat this tool's face bath-salts-style if he tried condescending to her like that in person.

    May 1, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Bill

    This is too painful to watch. This guy is completely without portfolio and seems not to even know who is opponent is. Thankfully, on May 7, he can return to the Appalachian trail.

    May 1, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "....it's about two different visions of how we restore America and reign in Washington spending."

    Well, we know Republicans cannot control spendiing when they're in charge. Deficit spending is all that they understand. Spending is something that concerns Republicans only when they're not in power. It's been their track record for more than 30 years, and the Ryan Plan is proof positive that they will continue down the same deficit spending path.

    May 1, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    @California

    Pelosi is a perfect example of what's wrong with this country.
    =====================
    What's wrong with this country is a radical, obnoxious gaggle of fearful, narrow-minded, right-wing bigots who get all of their distorted viewpoints and mindless conspiracies from hate media. You spend all of your time desperately working each issue to find fault with the political opposition rather than trying to help America.

    May 1, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |