Elections
Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert, speaks to the media after voting Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Charleston, S.C. Colbert Busch, 58, is running against Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for the 1st District congressional seat. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith) Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert, speaks to the media after voting Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Charleston, S.C. Colbert Busch, 58, is running against Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for the 1st District congressional seat. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)  

Mark Sanford wins South Carolina congressional seat

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

Mark Sanford is Washington-bound.

The former South Carolina governor won redemption Tuesday night when he clinched a win against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to become the next U.S. representative.

CNN called the race about an hour-and-a-half after polls closed, and The Associated Press called it a few minutes later.

Sanford had been out of the public eye since his gubernatorial term ended in scandal from the revelation that when he disappeared for seven days to go “hike the Appalachian trail.” He had actually been visiting the Argentine woman with whom he had carried on an affair during his time in office.

His run for Congress was viewed as a quest for redemption, and he repeatedly apologized and explained how he had learned from his mistakes and would be a better congressman for it.

His campaign hit a rough patch last month, when it was reported that his ex-wife was charging him with trespassing at her house. It was the kind of unsavory revelation that some had feared would come out about Sanford, and the National Republican Congressional Committee promptly dropped support for him. A poll that weekend showed Sanford trailing Colbert Busch by a whopping nine points.

But Sanford rallied. A poll over the weekend showed the two candidates in a statistical dead heat, and Sanford rode that momentum to a win on Tuesday.

He will hold the seat vacated by now-Sen. Tim Scott, who was appointed to the Senate after former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to become president of the conservative Heritage Foundation. Sanford held the same seat from 1995 to 2001.

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