(CNN) - It was bound to happen at some point.
The campaign for one of Mark Sanford's opponents in the South Carolina special election issued a direct statement Tuesday, criticizing the former GOP governor for trying to bounce back from a political career thwarted by infidelity.
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"Governor Sanford displayed a sad dereliction of duty in abandoning the people of the entire state of South Carolina," Mike Biundo, a consultant for state Rep. Andy Patrick, said in a statement responding to what they described as Sanford's "apology tour."
Patrick is one of more than a dozen Republicans vying for the nomination in the crowded primary next month. The seat for the state's 1st Congressional District was vacated after Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Tim Scott to the Senate at the end of 2012.
Sanford, who once represented the district, emphasizes a message of redemption in his campaign, referring to his extramarital affair that went public in 2009 when he served as governor. He and his wife divorced the next year, and Sanford finished out his second term in 2011. He's now engaged to the Argentinean girlfriend, Maria Belen Chapur.
In his first television ad Monday, Sanford addressed the controversy, saying "none of us go through life without mistakes."
"But in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances and be the better for it," Sanford continued in the spot, looking directly into the camera.
But Patrick's campaign isn't buying it.
"His personal tour of redemption now is a disservice to the people of the Lowcountry who are looking for the next leader to represent them in Congress," Biundo said.
"Andy Patrick is a Christian man and believes in repentance," the statement read. "But he also believes past is prologue."
Other candidates have taken more subtle attacks. Former state Sen. John Kuhn, for example, prominently boasted of his "personal responsibility" and "devotion to family" in a television ad. Meanwhile, high school economics teacher Teddy Turner, son of CNN founder Ted Turner, ran an ad in which he chastised the idea of a "career politician."
The statement, however, isn't a total surprise. Even Sanford's ex-wife, Jenny, told reporters last month that the issues will likely come up, and her former husband's ability to handle questions about the affair "will make or break his campaign."