Report: Disgraced Former Governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) Will Run For Congress

Daniel Doherty

1/11/2013 7:00:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

The word “shameless” doesn’t even begin to describe Mark Sanford’s imminent return to South Carolina’s political scene (via The Weekly Standard):

Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, will run for the House of Representatives, sources close to Sanford confirm. He will try to win election to the seat formerly held by Tim Scott.

Sanford, a Republican who held the House seat himself from 1995 to 2001, will announce his intention to run early next week, ahead of the January 18 filing deadline. The special election to succeed Scott, who was appointed to the Senate by Governor Nikki Haley last month, will take place on May 7, with a GOP primary being held on March 19.

Sanford will join a crowded and growing field of Republican candidates vying for the House seat, though he is considered the favorite to advance to a likely primary runoff on April 2. Sanford has deep roots in the coastal district, which includes much of Charleston. The newly redrawn district also encompasses the Beaufort and Hilton Head areas, where Sanford grew up and still owns a farm.

Sanford gained a reputation in the House and later as governor as a libertarian-minded budget cutter, with a record that may appeal to the well-organized Tea Party and conservative grassroots of the district.

By the way, here’s a succinct recap of then-Governor Sanford’s infamous and appalling behavior:

In 2009, halfway through his second term as governor, reports surfaced that Sanford was missing, with staff referring to Sanford's claim that he was hiking in the Appalachian Mountains. He later admitted he had traveled to Argentina, where he was conducting an extramarital affair with a local woman. Sanford finished out his term, though his political career appeared over. He divorced his wife and is now engaged to the Argentine woman.

Sanford has been signaling his forthcoming announcement to reenter politics since Scott’s appointment to the Senate in December. He was spotted Thursday in Charleston scouting out potential campaign offices spaces and told a reporter both his sons and his fiancée have had “positive” reactions to his bid.

Of course, American history is rife with examples of politicians bouncing back from embarrassing sex scandals. Perhaps the most famous case is when Grover Cleveland won the presidential election in 1884 even after reports surfaced that he (a) allegedly fathered a child out of wedlock and (b) was secretly paying the infant boy’s child support. More recently, though, Bill Clinton committed adultery and perjury during his presidential tenure, and yet in 2012 did more than anyone (especially during his high-profile speech at the DNC) to convince the American public that Barack Obama “deserved” a second term. So, while Governor Sanford’s infamous tryst and serial lying are well known to the public, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him win Tim Scott’s old congressional seat.

I’m just hoping -- for everyone’s sake -- that “family values” isn’t one of the central platforms of his campaign.