On Tuesday, former SC Gov. Mark Sanford faces former County Councilman Curtis Bostic in a run-off election for the GOP nomination in South Carolina’s 1st District. Bostic finished a distant second in the crowded 16-candidate primary in March. Sanford received about 20,000 votes against Bostic’s 7,000. Sanford would appear to have the edge going into Tuesday’s run-off, but special run-offs elections are highly volatile and unpredictable.
“I was very surprised [Bostic] did as well as he did,” said Jeff Reuer, with the Goose Creek 9/12 Project. Reuer told Breitbart News that many of the Tea Party and grass roots activists he knows are asking a lot of questions about Bostic. “Nobody knows anything about Bostic.”
Reuer said he took part in a Freedomworks vetting process for all 16 candidates running in the March primary. One item that stuck out about Bostic for Reuer was that he was one of only two Republicans in that primary who wouldn’t sign a petition promising not to increase spending. Reuer is supporting Sanford in Tuesday’s run-off, largely because of Sanford’s long track-record on cutting government spending.
“Sanford was my first hero in politics,” conservative activist Debbie Jones told Breitbart News. “There was no bigger fan of Sanford.” Jones, however is supporting Bostic in Tuesday’s election. “Integrity is very important to me.”
Jones referred to Sanford’s much publicized personal scandal. While Governor, Sanford, who publicly was said to be hiking, made a secret trip to Argentina to visit his mistress. The disclosure of the trip and the affair eventually ended Sanford’s marriage and, it seemed, his political career.
Earlier this year, however, Gov. Nikki Haley appointed 1st District Rep. Tim Scott to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, opening the seat up for the special election. Sanford has told Breitbart News that it was with “great trepidation” that he decided to reenter the political arena.
Sanford has apologized for his personal mistakes on the campaign trail and argued that his long track record as a fiscal conservative makes him the right person for the times.
Jones says she thinks Sanford has the edge on Tuesday, “Bostic just doesn’t have the name recognition.” Asked if she would support Sanford in the May general election if he won on Tuesday, Jones replied, “Absolutely. We have to keep that seat Republican.”
Tuesday’s election is likely to have a lower turn-out than the March primary, when almost 60,000 Republicans cast ballots. Multi-candidate fields tend to inflate turnout and the run-off is taking place two days after Easter, when many people are away for Spring Break.
Bostic has received late endorsements from Rick Santorum and James Dobson, which could help him galvanize evangelical voters. The endorsements, however, come at a time when few people are following politics, potentially muting their impact. Around half-a-dozen candidates from the March primary have endorsed Sanford in the run-off.
The winner of Tuesday’s vote will take on Elizabeth Colbert-Busch in early May.