Mark Sanford is one step closer to a political comeback.
On Tuesday night, the former South Carolina governor — who left the governorship in 2010 surrounded by scandal after he admitted to an affair with an Argentine woman — won a runoff to become the Republican nominee in South Carolina’s special congressional election.
Sanford beat Curtis Bostic, an attorney and former Charleston County councilman, in the runoff. The two were the top vote-getters in a 16-way Republican primary last month, in which no one candidate received the majority of the vote necessary for a win.
Sanford, with near-universal name recognition, was seen as the favorite from the start.
He will face off against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, in what is expected to be a competitive race. Colbert Busch has been a successful fundraiser thus far, and in a poll conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling last week, she led Sanford 47 percent to 45 percent, a lead within the margin of error.
Colbert Busch’s campaign took an immediate jab at Sanford after he was announced the nominee.
“The families of this district need a representative who they can trust,” campaign spokesman James Smith said in a statement. “Mark Sanford simply has the wrong values for our community – whether that’s his terms as Governor or the last time he was in Congress, where he opposed commonsense measures like the Violence Against Women Act, which provides shelters and resources for domestic violence survivors. On issue after issue, Mark Sanford doesn’t reflect the values of South Carolina.”
Bostic raised the issue of “trust” during the primary in reference to Sanford’s infidelity, saying it would cost Republicans the election.
The seat was vacated by former Rep. Tim Scott, who was appointed to the Senate when Sen. Jim DeMint retired to become president of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation.
The general election is May 7.