National Democrats to get aggressive in South Carolina race
April 18th, 2013
02:15 PM ET
9 years ago

National Democrats to get aggressive in South Carolina race

(CNN) – One day after a national Republican campaign group pulled out of the South Carolina special congressional race, the group's Democratic counterpart announced it's stepping in.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says it will begin running an attack ad Friday against Republican candidate Mark Sanford, the former governor of the state who's attempting a political comeback after his career was derailed following his now-famous extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina.

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Sanford became the Republican nominee in the race earlier this month. He's seeking to represent the 1st Congressional District, which he represented before becoming governor.

According to a Democratic official, the DCCC is spending $205,000 on the ad and will run it on broadcast and cable in the Charleston and Savannah markets.

The new spot marks the second time this week a major Democratic group announced it was going up with an ad against Sanford. House Majority PAC, a political action committee that backs Democratic House candidates, said Wednesday it would begin a three-week, six-figure media campaign.

Earlier this week, court documents showed that Sanford's ex-wife formally accused Sanford of trespassing in February. Sanford now has a court appearance scheduled two days after the May 7 election. While the former governor claimed he was simply watching the Super Bowl with his son, his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, argued he has appeared on her property more than once, despite legal orders barring him from doing so.

Amid the reports, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced Wednesday it would no longer be involved in the race, dealing a major blow to Sanford's campaign.

"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 NRCC, said in a statement.

While the district is considered solidly Republican–it's been in GOP hands for more than three decades and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the district by 18 points–political observers note the Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, may have a chance at winning the special election. And the DCCC will be there to fight.

"This is an overwhelmingly Republican district that has become competitive because Republicans yet again nominated a flawed candidate. The DCCC will aggressively compete in uphill fights even in the most Republican territory," said Jesse Ferguson, deputy executive director and communications director for the DCCC.

Colbert Busch, whose brother is comedian Stephen Colbert, has strong name recognition and has built a campaign that's garnered national attention.

Sanford's campaign responded to the recent Democratic ad buys, arguing that the amount of money pouring in simply proves Colbert Busch is more tied to Washington than she lets on.

"I think this raises an incredibly interesting question, and that is, what are Nancy Pelosi and national Democrats expecting from Colbert Busch that they're willing to spend a million dollars to get it?" Sanford said in a statement. "My opponent has gone through great lengths to distance herself from the liberal Beltway crowd, but it simply isn't believable that those same folks would be trying to buy this race for someone who would truly be an independent voice in Washington."

The new DCCC ad knocks Sanford for conducting his affair and mentions his secret trips to Argentina on taxpayer dollars, for which he was eventually caught in 2009 and fined for ethics violations. He and his former wife divorced in 2010, and he finished out his second term in 2011. He's now engaged to the woman with whom he had the affair.

"Mark Sanford walked out on us, violated our trust," the ad's narrator says. "Now he wants our trust again? Maybe Mark Sanford should just keep walking."

- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Ads • DCCC • Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is that supposed to be a picture of Sanford hiking on the Appalachian Trail?! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
    Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words!

    April 18, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    Forget about him hiking the Appalacian Trail in Argentina and lying to you South Kakalak, but he misused your tax dollars. He shouldn't even be qualified to run for political office based on that alone.

    April 18, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. just sayin

    yeah well obama and the democrats have lied to us since 2006! tanked the economy, blamed it on others then lied to us about fixing it. then totally messed up our healthcare. democrats, a party full of lies and deceit.

    April 18, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. John the Historian

    When do the Republicans in the South learn that they have been betrayed by Republicans ? The Confederacy lost get over it. The Southern strategy started by Nixon is at an end. Women's rights, African-American rights, Gay rights and Hispanics right s are here to stay. Republicans need to go watch the move Pleasantvile now.

    April 18, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Bruce

    Doesn't matter. sanford will still win. Dems don't stand a chance.

    April 18, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Tom

    It will be an interesting test to see whether a district of staunch Republicans will continue to back their party no matter how distasteful the candidate.

    April 18, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Don't cry for him....Argentina...

    April 18, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. California

    Rusty Krus – YAWN. Have any more name calling?

    You're far worse than the person you're talking about there.

    April 18, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Dan5404

    The South, where I was born and grew up, is dominated by ultra right extremist minorities. But, their loud, aggressive, wrong-headed politics is ebbing away. They want to force evangelical beliefs on the rest of us, force more weapons onto a public that owns more than any country in the world (with a correspondingly horrific gun death total each year), suppress women, minorities and voters that don't believe in their radical ways. I believe the time is approaching, beginning in 2014, when the vast majority of Americans will vote their kind out of office and return the country to a more sane and Democratic way of living.

    April 18, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. nothing new here


    Don't cry for him....Argentina...
    Awesome – you said it all.
    I think I can move on to the next news article 🙂

    April 18, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. California

    A. Weiner anyone?

    April 18, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine


    Rusty Krus – YAWN. Have any more name calling?

    You're far worse than the person you're talking about there.
    Lets've accused Democrats of murder, and you are complaining about someone being over the top? Please.

    April 18, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Malory Archer


    A. Weiner anyone?


    Yeah, except the Dems told him in no uncertain terms that he WASN'T running for NYC Mayor, and he isn't. Comparing THAT to the rethugs nominating the Argentinian Trail hiker is is like comparing apples to orangutans.

    April 18, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "A. Weiner anyone?"

    Want to explain what Weiner did that was even remotely akin to lambasting and voting to impeach Clinton based on preaching about 'family values" and then running off a few years later on the taxpayers dime to Argentina to commit adultry and winding up paying the largest ethics fine in history for it?

    Oh, that's right..the only thing Wiener did was embarass himself with the par-for-the-course adultry-type stuff (altho he apparently didn't even literally commit adultry)...not the hypocrisy and misuse of public funds or having to pay the largest ethic fine in history. But yeah...TOOOOOTALLLY the same thing....

    April 18, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. PaulCat

    Mark Sanford lied?????
    That's a sign of a true (NRA) republican.
    Everyone will believe him.

    April 18, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    @just sayin: "yeah well obama and the democrats have lied to us since 2006! tanked the economy, blamed it on others then lied to us about fixing it. then totally messed up our healthcare. democrats, a party full of lies and deceit."

    Besides posting lies, since when would two wrongs make a right?

    Your mama did a bad job of raising you ...

    April 18, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    "A Weiner anyone?"

    President Obama publicly said (to Ann Curry of NBC News) that if he were Weiner, he'd resign.

    Nancy Pelosi called for the House ethics investigation regarding Weiner's behavior. – and pressured him to resign soon after.

    No comparison to Sanford lying to South Carolina (and his family) about his whereabouts and using the public dime to visit his squeeze in Argentina.

    April 18, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |