Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford kicked off his ad campaign in his bid for congress Monday, with an ad that addresses both his accomplishments as governor and appeals to the “God of second chances,” alluding to the transgressions that led him to leave public office.
“Washington’s math doesn’t add up, and so for years, while many have talked, I’ve fought to do something about it,” Sanford says, speaking directly to the camera. “I’ve cut spending, reduced debt, and made government more accountable.”
“More recently, I’ve experienced how 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. In that light, I humbly step forward and ask for your help in changing Washington.”
Since kicking off his campaign, the former Republican governor has spoken openly about his extramarital affair with an Argentinean woman, Maria Belen Chapur, which he admitted to in 2009. His ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, whom he divorced in 2010, had also considered a run for the seat. Sanford is now engaged to Chapur.
Sanford is one of many Republicans in the primary to fill the seat in South Carolina’s first district, vacated by Sen. Tim Scott after Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to the Senate when former Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to head up the Heritage Foundation. Sanford served as that district’s congressman from 1995 to 2001, before he became governor.
He is considered the front-runner, though with so many Republicans vying for the nomination, there is likely to be a run-off if no one candidate wins a majority in the March 17 primary. The winner will likely face off against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.