On Tuesday, former SC Governor Mark Sanford cleared the first hurdle on his political comeback. Sanford won the GOP primary for the 1st Congressional District with almost 37% of the vote in a crowded, 16-candidate field. Custic Bostic, former member of the Charleston City Council and state Sen. Larry Grooms are locked in a recount to determine who will face Sanford in the run-off election, scheduled for April 2nd. Sanford told Breitbart News he was “ready for the two-week sprint.”
Sanford’s successful political career collapsed a few years ago, after mistakes in his personal life became public. Sanford had previously told Breitbart News that his decision to reenter the political arena had been made with “great trepidation.” His anxiety was overcome because the central political issue today, restoring government’s fiscal integrity, had been his core political legacy.
Throughout his career in Congress and the Governor’s office, Sanford had warned about the growing in-balance in our spending and the accelerating national debt. “A robust number of economic studies show that when debt gets to be 90-100% of GDP, it becomes a real drag on economic growth.
“There is a level of anxiety in the public,” Sanford told Breitbart News Wednesday morning, “that I haven’t seen in over 20 years in office.” Sanford said the people he spoke with on the campaign are “both fearful and ticked off.”
“They don’t like the sequester [cuts] as a tool,” Sanford said. “But, they love the idea of tapping the brakes” on spending.
“Someone said to me,” Sanford observed, “‘My family budget can survive a 2% cut, I don’t understand why government cant.’ People are just like, let’s get on with it.”
Turnout in the GOP primary was higher than expected. Almost the same number of votes were cast in this special Congressional primary as a special GOP primary for Governor a few years ago. The primary turnout also showed the district’s strong GOP tilt. More than 3 times as many ballots were cast in the Republican primary as the Democrat primary. In fact, Sanford’s raw vote total in the crowded primary field, just over 19,000 eclipsed the 15,000 votes received by the Democrat winner, Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Sources in South Carolina told Breitbart News that the top three challengers to Sanford each spent over $500,000 on the primary, much of it devoted to sharp elbow attacks. Sanford will now face the second-place candidate in a run-off on April 2nd.
The winner of the run-off will then face Colbert Busch, sister of TV comedian Steven Colbert, in the general election on May 7th. Her celebrity brother will likely garner her a lot of earned media, but that likely won’t be enough to win a seat held by the Republicans for more than 30 years. One prominent local democrat confided to sources that he feared Busch was “just too far left” for the district.
Regardless, Sanford is now one-step closer to shaking off his personal drama and reclaiming his political legacy.