For Gov. Mark Sanford, today is a day to believe in second chances.
South Carolinians of the 1st Congressional District will go to the polls today to choose between the former governor and former councilman Curtis Bostic in the race for the GOP nomination to fill the House vacancy Tim Scott left behind.
In one of his last appeals to voters, Sanford pushed his record of conservative spending, calling the national debt “the biggest threat to national security.” The former governor also gave his supporters an idea of where his focus would be as a Congressman, with easing of regulations for industry to strengthen the lagging economy.
“What we need to do is remember how competitive the world is now,” he said. “We need to be that much more competitive with our tax and regulatory structure.”
Curtis Bostic, who has effectively been branded as ‘a hometown candidate,’ has focused primarily on keeping in step with conservative issues. He exalted states’ rights under the 10th Amendment, and cited government involvement as a dangerous obstacle to South Carolinians.
“‘If it’s dying, subsidize it.’ That’s the government’s philosophy. Government is too involved,” said Bostic. “We need to bring people together, and get government out of the way.”
Both men have their points, and their flaws. Bostic, if he is today’s victor, could face a severe shortage in campaign funds that he will need to face Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, the democratic candidate and sister to political satirist Stephen Colbert.
If Sanford continues on in the race, he will have the support of conservatives determined to keep the seat in Republican hands. But this may be given begrudgingly. As governor, Sanford made a secret trip to see his Argentinian mistress in a highly-publicized scandal that ended his marriage, and violated his trust with the public. He has since become engaged to his mistress.
To have a chance against Colbert-Busch, Sanford will have to fight for every single vote. And he knows it. But he remains undaunted and his supporters are standing their ground.
“If I believed in polls, I would not have run for governor.” he said. “I am willing to step up to the plate, and watch out for voters’ interests…It’s about conviction, matched with action.”